Bad news is unavoidable. At some point we all have to hear it, and sometimes we have to deliver it. The way you deliver bad news can have a direct impact on how the receiver perceives and reacts to the situation.
A few strategies that are suggested to communicate with honesty, empathy and grace include:
- Take time to focus and speak in a calm and clear manner.
- Try to identify solutions before delivering the news.
- Choose a private setting for your conversation to allow the other person freedom to respond and cope.
- Treat the other person with respect and dignity, while being open, clear and honest. Try to validate the other person’s emotions. If they express sadness respond with, “I understand you are sad, and you have every right to be.” This shows you are listening and validates their feelings.
You can’t control receiving bad news, but you can control how you react to it. If you find yourself on the receiving end, the best thing to do is to listen and pause before panicking or reacting. Behaviors that are fueled from panic tend to be self-defeating.
“I’d rather get bad news from an honest man, than lies from a flatterer.” Ursula K. Le Guin