Saturday, 17 January 2015

Breaking bad news


During a training workshop on Redundancy Interviews one of the participants asked me the following question:

"How can I break bad news to someone without feeling so awful?"

It's a beautiful question because it touches the essence of the problem.
Because giving someone bad news is not supposed to feel good...

It just needs to hurt a little, otherwise there is something wrong.
We all know that empathy is an essential leadership quality.

But no one likes to feel bad either.
And since we are all little creatures of habit, we instinctively try to avoid pain as much as we can.

So when we have to break bad news to someone we start to postpone it.
Or we avoid it by talking about other things first.
We try to bring the news very carefully.
Or we start by saying that we feel so bad about it ourselves...

Or worse: it looks like this:



So what is the best way to do it?

Well, first of all you start by accepting the fact that breaking bad news to someone is hard and feels very, very uncomfortable.

Secondly you want to make sure you use the communication tools that are available to make the interview as effective as possible.

One of them could be practicing the interview a few times with a professional role play actor to get instant feedback on the effect of the chosen strategy. That way your are well prepared for 'the real thing' and there will be no damage to the person it concerns.

Would you like to know more about InterACT WA's Actor-led training workshops?
Contact me here and I'm happy to tell you more about it!

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