Communication Tips: Five Tips for Breaking Bad News
The other day I opened the mail from my health insurance provider only to find this simple statement. "NOTES 01: - Your plan does not cover your claim of $2,000 dollars." It was a sour note - I was expecting a cheque that would reimburse me for a major dental work that I'd completed. It wasn't even the form of a mailer. It reminded me more of the Monopoly chance card: "Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200." The news was delivered so clearly that it sort of took my breath away. It's possible that they should have at the very least written something like, "Dear Sandra, unfortunately the terms of your plan do not cover X, Y and Z. Better luck next time." Anything that can soften the blow! Unfortunate news or breaking news is something we all experience in our lives. But, there are other methods and better methods to convey bad news and the most effective ways allow for a bit of relief for those on the receiving end. Understanding how to communicate bad news is particularly important during these post-recession, difficult economic times. Whether the unfortunate information is related to job losses or just telling the guy at work, who thinks pulling practical jokes is funny, that it's not an appropriate time to consider the following tips to convey information that might not be appreciated. For more detail please visit>>> My Top Five Tips for Delivering Bad News Pro-to-Pro: Be professional and treat the other person with respect and as professional. That is that you use professional language regardless of whether the bad news is delivered in person or by email. The Good Bad News: If there is any good news you might discuss, share it first. Give the person an option. "There's good news and bad news, which do you prefer to hear first?" If you can find two bits of good news, it's possible to decide to go with one of them. The "sandwich" approach: good news, bad news, good news. Another option is to diminish the bad and focus on the positive. Accept and apologize: Put yourself in another person's shoes and imagine how you would feel if you were being told the news. Don't be overly emotional, but acknowledge the other person's emotional reaction. Be sorry for being the one to share bad news. It won't make the news any better; it will humanize the situation. Honest and Direct: Although you have to strive for professionalism, kind and optimistic, you must be honest and truthful in your information. If the practical joker at the office is driving everyone else mad, you have to tell him the truth. "Look, Practical Joker, I've had numerous complaints about your practical joking. I'm sorry to ruin your fun, but it simply has to stop." Creative and constructive Constructive and Creative: If you have something you could say that would be constructive and useful do not hesitate to say it. In the event of the possibility of a layoff, this could be a matter of advising the employee about the possibility that Human Resources will provide information regarding career counseling and resume development. In the case of being the Practical Joker situation, the company may be suggesting that he choose an online game that he can play... during the lunch break. The truth is, of course, that delivering bad news is extremely difficult. I recently led a workshop with managers at the top on how to provide constructive feedback to their teams. (They were dealing with issues which ranged from inefficiency to lateness employees.) One of their problems was the habit of putting off delivering the news. When they did finally deliver the news via email, they usually used harsh words and unsuitable formatting. So, the next time you're forced to tell anyone "Go straight to jail," try, at the very least try to soften the blow by saying something like this: "I'm sorry to have to break the news that you won't be collecting $200 dollars this time around. Even if you do go straight to jail however, the good thing is that you're able to get back out, because there's always another chance card. If your boss tells you don't write well or you aren't getting responses to your email messages, The Language Lab, established by Dr. Sandra Folk, is a company that specializes in improving the business ability to write and present for executives and their employees, worldwide and nationally.

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