Skip to main content

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!


Popular posts from this blog

Emotions at work? Yes please!

  "I was biting my tongue the whole time"  "Gosh, he makes my blood boil"  "I wish she would just get off my back"  “There is a knot in my stomach”   These are all common idioms which are related to where emotions can settle in our body. We especially notice it during those tricky conversations.  But weirdly enough, even though our body is telling us exactly what is going on, we hardly listen to it.  A missed opportunity because they are crucial signals that remind you to use your communication skills and our emotional intelligence.  What to do?    -        *  Do you notice tension in your body? Do you feel your heart beat faster? You may find it an exciting conversation. Ask yourself: What do I find exciting or difficult? -        *  State what you see or feel. Such as: "I notice my heart is beating fast and there is a knot in my stomach. I feel uncomfortable.”   -       *   Examine your own judgment of emotions. What do you th

How we help Leaders Learn more Deeply

Much research has been done into effective ways of learning. But we can cautiously say that learning is too complex an activity for conclusive theories. Which is not to say that we are in the dark. An educational thinker who has stood the test of time is David Kolb. In the 1970s and 1980s, this learning psychologist developed an influential and useful concept about learning that can also be found in all of our InterACT WA Communication & Leadership training courses. What is it?  Kolb divided the learning process into four phases. He saw them as cyclical, so he put them in a circle. Whoever wants to learn something, according to Kolb, must go through every phase of the circle. And not once, no, often you have to go through the circle a few times to get to what really matters: to learn more deeply. Learning more deeply means: you can remember what you have learned and apply it in practice. You don't have to be an educationalist to see that as a wonderful outcome of learni

5 reasons role play fails

Role playing is one of the most effective learning methods. Especially when you choose to work with a professional actor. Surprisingly it’s also one of the most misused techniques.  So what goes wrong? Well, pay attention and learn which 5 failures make role play fail miserably: 1. Unsafe practice   environment Most people are not dying of enthusiasm to do a role play simulation. That is why its extremely important to invest time and effort in creating a safe practice environment. Never ever push people intro a role play scenario if they really don't want to. They wont learn a thing and will only be more reluctant to do so in the future. 2. No alignment between learning goals and role play.  The role play has to be completely dedicated to the learning goal of the participant. Unfortunately sometimes people are eager to change the role play into an interesting theatrical scene. Perhaps fun to look at, but not very helpful to the participant. No role play s