Can We Talk?

Tips for Delivering Bad News

Bad news is no fun to deliver. That’s why even distinguished leaders and otherwise successful people will go to great lengths to avoid doing it.

For example, you might tolerate a longstanding, but mediocre, vendor instead of giving the contract to another company. Or maybe you make excuses to hold on to an underperforming employee. And admit it: You’ve almost certainly hung around in a problematic personal relationship (romantic or platonic) longer than you should have.

These delays buy us a reprieve, but they surely don’t improve the situation. In fact, as we hesitate, prevaricate, and beat around the bush, the underlying problem gets worse and the web of complications grows ever more tangled. That’s why we owe it to ourselves to study up on the fine art of delivering bad news. If you were hoping for a way around the unpleasant emotions that accompany the delivery of bad news, I’ll have to disappoint you — there isn’t one.

Geoffrey Tumlin

Author of Stop Talking, Start Communicating: Counterintuitive Secrets to Success in Business and in Life

geoff@tumlin.com

www.tumlin.com

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