Delivering bad news effectively and clearly
When your job requires you to deliver bad news, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. The wrong way can make you and your company come off as uncaring, as if you enjoy routinely crushing hopes with a shrug of the shoulders. I call that the torture method, and it goes something like this:
“Hey, how are you? I wanted to let you know that things did not go exactly like we hoped… You know, in this topsy-turvy world we live in, it’s just sometimes a roll of the dice!”
That’s the torture method.
We need to get past the fear of delivering bad news and go with what works! And here it is, in three steps.
Step 1: Connect to how the person may feel. What have you lost that was of great value to you? Get in touch with your compassion. (Everyone has it — even you!)
Step 2: Realize that you have a job to do and, before you make the call, make sure your tone of voice is caring and matches your compassion.
Step 3: Be straightforward and compassionate with the facts. Your delivery might sound something like this: “Unfortunately, your loan was not approved. There were a couple of factors involved…” (Then state the facts with kindness.)
The job of delivering bad news is very important and can be done with dignity if you keep this crucial formula in mind:
Preparation + compassion = dignity.