How to deliver bad news to any audience

Whether it’s in a press release or in a meeting, here are important reminders for breaking the news.

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No one wants to deliver this kind of unwelcome news—or receive. But sometimes it’s a necessary evil of doing business, and you’re the unfortunate soul who has to bear the burden. Here are five tips to mitigate the drama:

1. Let your own emotions run their course before you have to share the news with others. You may not like or agree with the news you must deliver, but there is a reason why it needs to be done. Come to terms with it so you don’t bring your negative emotional energy to the communication. Your audience will take its cue from your approach, and if you’re defensive, nervous, weepy, or angry, it will only fuel their negative response.

2. Restrict your build-up and get to the point. By the time people get through six long paragraphs of posturing and pussyfooting in your email or press release, their B.S.-radar is on high alert and involuntary butterflies in their stomach are flooding their brain with negative emotion. So, when you finally hit them with the unpleasant punch line in that last paragraph, their adverse reaction is intensified by the emotions you nurtured in them. The same thing holds true for verbal delivery. Often, the anticipation is worse than the actual news.

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