By Alicia Woods
Nobody likes delivering bad news. That’s common knowledge. But eventually we all become the bearer of bad news. When you are the messenger, you will want to do it respectfully and with as little as confrontation as possible. With these tips, that goal of bringing peaceful bad news becomes a reality.
Tip #1: Prepare for conversation
You don’t want to be unprepared. It’s like a battlefield. Things will get emotional and heated very quickly and it’s your job to avoid adding fuel to the fire. Think of possible reactions and your reactions to the former. You are basically on a minefield. Be mindful of where those bombs are and avoid them.
Tip #2: Know why it’s necessary
Being the messenger is hard but feeling justified in why you are doing this eases the pain a little bit. Remind yourself why you are doing this and if you don’t know why, find out!
Tip #3: Be direct and compassionate
Don’t beat around the bush. Be direct and honest when telling them, but also be mindful of their feelings. Sure, you might be in a tight spot, but imagine how they must feel.
Tip #4: Mind your location
Choose a location which limits their humiliation. Don’t tell them out in public, in front of the world. Tell them in private, but be aware of both their safety and your own.
Tip #5: Don’t Bargain
You can’t allow this conversation to become a “but why” discussion. Things like “but why me?” and “but why do I have to do this?” are not part of the conversation and are not up for negotiation. The receiver of bad news must face the music, consider it tough love.
With these tips, you’ll become a “don’t shoot the messenger” type of bad news giver. But hopefully it won’t come to the shooting part.