Guess what? There is bad news out there and sometimes it’s going to be your job to deliver it to an audience. Nope, this is not going to be an easy thing to do; however, it does need to be done and you are going to have to make sure that you do a good job of doing it. As with so many other things in life, it turns out that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing all of this.
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I don’t like delivering bad news and I’m willing to bet that you don’t like doing it either. The problem is that because we don’t look forward to this task, we can sometimes attempt to “soften the blow” and instead of telling our audience what they deserve to hear, we instead spend a great deal of time working our way up to the big announcement. Make sure that you don’t do this. It’s not fair to your audience and this is not what they have come to hear you.
Instead, what you are going to want to do is to deliver the bad news to your audience as quickly as possible. The one thing that you are going to want to avoid doing is building suspense with your audience. When you deliver the bad news, you are going to want to make sure that you leave no doubts about what your message is. As you deliver your message, take care to make sure that the words that you are using will not stir any emotion in your audience.
Speakers who are experienced in delivering bad news recommend that in our speech we deliver the bad news only once and that we do not repeat ourselves. Additionally, in this kind of speech, the words that we use are going to be very important. We are going to want to avoid using words that have a negative connotation associated with them. These types of words include “mistake”, “misunderstanding”, dismal” and “unfortunately”.
Make A Connection With Your Audience
Telling your audience the bad news that they have been expecting to hear is only one part of your job as the bearer of bad news. You are going to have to take things one step further. Once you share the bad news with them, they are all going to have one question that they are going to want you to answer next. This question is, of course, “what does this mean for me?”.
This is where you are going to have to have done your homework. Your speech will not count for much if you can’t answer this critical question for your audience. When you are providing the answers to this question, you are going to want to use the word “you” if it is at all possible. If you find yourself addressing a large audience, then this just might not be possible to do. However, if you can’t, then you’ll need to at least be as specific as possible. By doing your homework, you should have numbers available to you and this should help you to address the other question that your audience will be dealing with: “when”.