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How do you deliver bad news?

How do you deliver bad news?

By Bruce King | 20 June 2022

If you have to deliver bad news, don't make this mistake.

If and when you have to deliver bad news, whether it's to customers or potential customers, suppliers, associates, employees, or family or friends, it should never be in writing, although you may have to confirm it later that way.

Written communication channels such as letters, emails, texts, messages etc., do not allow you to soften bad news with tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. And they most certainly do not allow you to deal with intense and negative reactions, because you're just not there to see them or deal with them.


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If you have to deliver bad news, do this in person. Ideally face to face or at the very least via Zoom, Facetime or any other online visual channel. And prepare thoroughly beforehand.

Think how you can do it sensitively, with compassion if necessary, and so you can convey your message with the least possible medium or long term upset.

When you deliver bad news in person, it is so much easier to spot signs that key parts of your message have been misinterpreted, or that the recipient is clearly deeply distressed, angered or expressing some other emotion and so you can do or say whatever you need, to help them deal with the bad news.


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