In life, it’s not always a happy place. There are moments when you are just humbled to your knees. It may be a sudden conflict at work or an emergency at home. Once in our life, we all felt broken and helpless.
But what if you are tasked to deliver the bad news to your colleagues or friends? Knowing the hurt that it will bring, how do you deliver this heartbreaking moment? It’s certainly not an easy task. I clamor for the answer as well and this is what I found out.
There are 4 useful tips to deliver bad news.
Do not go ahead and just get it over with. You should start planning first before you blurt out that nefarious information.
Try to think about the line you can say to soften the blow. You can also choose the location or circumstance when you tell it. It doesn’t have to be a perfect scenario, but at least give the effort to make it less hurtful.
Use a Positive Tone. Avoid Framing It Like a Personal Attack.
Human beings defend themselves from attacks from the outside. We are equipped with bodily mechanisms to fend off physical danger ultimately preserving our lives.
But one peculiar thing is our body’s response to criticisms. We have a set of core beliefs that define our being. And when that is challenged, expect the same defense mechanism to go haywire. Check out this video to illustrate my point.
As part of your planning, do not directly attack the person or his/her perceived inadequacies. This may not be your intention but you will surely just make it worse. So frame it with a positive tone.
Be Empathetic. Show you care.
And this positivity can only be done if you’re empathetic. It will only show when you truly care for the person your speaking to.
Take a step back. Ask yourself, how would you feel if you’re receiving the information? This can frame your actions to be more considerate. It allows a smooth dialogue between two friends.
No Unsolicited Advice. But Make Sure to Help them If They Do Ask for One.
Sometimes, our friend just needs someone to talk to. These are trying times for them. The last thing you want is to act like a know-it-all and lash them with unsolicited advice. Yes, you have good intentions and your advice might actually be right. But they need a friend, not advice from an all-knowing expert.
If they don’t ask for it, refrain from giving your “expert opinion”. Still, offer your help. Let them know that you’re here for them just in case even if they don’t want it for now. But make sure that if they do, you seek ways to help them feel better.
With that, I hope you can be a better friend to your mates in need.