Key points

Top Ten Key Points to Deliver Bad News


1) There are 4 goals in delivering the bad news: (1) Convey the bad news clearly, (2) Gain acceptance for the bad news, (3) Maintain goodwill by adopting a “you” attitude/ act ethically, (4) avoid creating liability or responsibility.

2) Choose the indirect pattern when the audience is emotionally involved and will be displeased with the bad news. There are 4 parts to this method: (1) Buffer: open with a neutral but meaningful statement that does not mention the bad news, (2) Reasons: explain the causes of the bad news before disclosing it, (3) Bad news: Reveal the bad news without emphasizing it. Provide an alternative or compromise, if possible, (4) Closing: end with a personalized, forward-looking, pleasant statement. Avoid referring to bad news. This pattern is efficient for situation like: bad news about orders or products, denials or routine requests or invitations, refusal of claim adjustments or credit, bad news about people.

3) The direct pattern can be used when the audience prefers the bad news first and is not involved emotionally. 3 parts to this method: (1) Bad news: state the bad news up front, (2) Reasons: Explain the reasons for the bad news and offer some alternatives if you can, (3) Closing: Close with a positive statement—something aimed at soothing the reader.  Express interest or encouragement. This pattern is often used to deliver bad news through internal memos, routine messages to other businesses and in situation that demands firmness  (e.g. rejecting job applicants)

4) The tone has a great impact on the audience. It must show that the decision is firm and makes the audience agree that the decision is fair. Above all they must leave with a positive attitude.

5) Writing bad news requires the use of the 3-X-3 writing process. It is especially important to be precise in the crafting of bad news letters to avoid the consequences of a poorly written one. Phase 1: analysis, anticipation, and adaptation. Phase 2: research, organization, and composition. Phase 3: revision, proofreading, and evaluation.

6) Delivering bad news to a group:  Managers get lots of training on how to fire an individual employee but usually are left on their own when they have to deliver bad news to a group. How can you deliver bad news in a way that minimizes the damage? Here’s a four-part plan for announcing any kind of news that causes disappointment, whether it’s not making the numbers, relocating facilities, or eliminating a valued perk. (1) Do it as soon as possible. Until an official announcement is made, there will be wild speculation by your employees. Head off the rumours quickly.  (2) Speak candidly. Tell the employees everything that can be told. (3) Give them the big picture Begin the presentation by giving context — but do it quickly. Too much background up front can make you look insecure about getting to the bad news itself. Assure the employees that management has a strategy for overcoming hard times, and ask for their support. (4) Plan for questions. An otherwise excellent presentation can be undermined with an awkward handling of the Q&A. Anticipate the questions you’re likely to be asked and be ready for them with concise and credible answers. Adapt them for the particular audience you’re addressing.

7) When delivering bad news to customers, your goal is to make them feel good about continuing to do business with you.  (1) Express appreciation and show understanding. Consider apologizing if your organization was responsible for disappointing its customers. (2) Justify the bad news with objective bad news. Avoid blaming the customer or hiding behind company policy. (3) State the bad news objectively. (4) When appropriate, look for ways to offset your customers’ disappointment (e.g. gifts, benefits or tokens of appreciation). (5) When closing the conversation or letter, look forward to future business. Don’t mention the bad news.

8 ) Delivering bad news in organizations. Delivering bad news is one of the biggest challenges managers face. By handling the challenge well, you’ll mobilize the employees to help you meet your goals — and demonstrate to senior management how well you can lead in tough times. Follow this checklist for delivering negative news: (1) Open with good news, praise, appreciation or a discussion of facts leading to the reason section. (2) explain the cause of the decision. Use objective, nonjudgmental, and non-discriminatory language. (3) Make the bad news clear nut don’t accentuate it. Avoid negative language. (4) End on a positive note.  

9) When presenting bad news in different cultures straightforwardness is avoided. Subtle meanings must be interpreted carefully.  Conveying bad news in any culture is tricky and requires sensitivity to and awareness of cultural practices.

10) Points to remember when delivering bad news. DO: Listen and respond with empathy,  maintain and enhance the self-esteem of colleagues,  encourage their involvement – they are part of the solution, not part of the problem, share your thoughts, feelings and rationale, provide support without removing responsibility. DO NOT: Criticize, blame and walk away, be personal rather than objective, wait until you are ready to explode, be completely negative-find the positive news, too, deny your colleagues the chance to respond.

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Top ten key points to deliver bad news

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