How to give someone bad news without making it worse

Prepare for the conversation

Write down the main points that need to be said. If you’re worried, rehearse. Of course, you don’t need to read a speech prepared in advance on a piece of paper, but it’s better to think over a conversation plan and foresee possible difficulties. During the conversation, be calm, but not indifferent.

Choose the right place and time

Practicing psychotherapist Amy Morin writes that the environment matters. Therefore, choose a place where no one will disturb you. If the news suggests a follow-up discussion, take some time to answer the other person’s questions or just listen to him. Delivering bad news casually in a crowded and noisy space is not the best solution.

Deliver bad news in person

Breaking up through the messenger or informing about the dismissal in an email is a manifestation of disrespect for the interlocutor. This also applies to sadder news, such as illness or tragedy. Therefore, if there is an opportunity to meet in person, use it.

Speak softly but directly and honestly

Don’t try to hide the uncomfortable truth. Amy Morin believes that the display of excessive softness will not do any good. For example, when firing an employee, do not tell him that he is not to blame for this and that he is doing his job perfectly, if in fact this is not the case. Delicately explain to him the real reasons and do not make him think about why such an excellent employee like him was asked to leave.

In addition, most people prefer directness if they are going to receive negative information. If you are too soft, the person will suspect something is wrong and start to get nervous . Why torture him again? Speak straight.

Watch your tone

The tone of your message is important. Sloppy presentation of information will cause a negative reaction, so take a little time to politely explain to the person what exactly is wrong, and be as objective as possible.

Don’t pour water

Don’t beat around the bush before getting to the point. Do not waste the interlocutor’s time on empty talk about the weather or the exchange rate – you did not call him for this. In addition, he may be puzzled by prolonged meaningless chatter: he will think about what you need from him and why is he here? Instead, greet politely, express regret, and say whatever you want. It’s not about stunning the unfortunate with the news from the doorway and getting off. The preface may be, but do not go far from the topic.

Provide the facts

The interlocutor may take what you said too emotionally. So be prepared to explain why this happened. It all depends on the specific case and the topic you are talking about, but if you can name a reason, do it. Let a person see the situation completely, be informed and come to conclusions that will be useful to him in the future. Just do not get excited, try to maintain a neutral position.

Do not demand sympathy from the interlocutor

Most likely, all the anger or resentment will pour out on the one who reports the bad news. Even if nothing in a particular situation depended on you. Do not abuse the phrases “Imagine how hard it is for me to talk about this!” or “Do you think it was easy for me?” – so you risk angering a person even more. Amy Morin advises to prepare for a different reaction of the interlocutor and try to accept it, but not stoop to insults.

Show care

Find out how the person took the news. Empathize , support, but do not squeeze simulated emotions out of yourself: sincerity is most important.

Offer Help

If you can help in any way, please say so. If the interlocutor accepts the offer, treat him with all responsibility: he has problems, and perhaps you are the only source of support.

Read also 🧐

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.