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Are you nervous about giving bad news to others? Do you wish you were good at it? Do you worry about your business reputation?

Well, you’re not alone. Delivering bad news can be a difficult task.

There are, however, people, who can deliver bad news without suffering from personal repercussions. Good messengers are not eager to perform the task, but they know it isn’t about them.

Good messengers possess emotional intelligence. (For more on emotional intelligence, scroll down to the Coach’s Corner.)

That means good messengers are usually leaders. They keep in mind their audience members and their concerns.

They know what is necessary to say and what not to say. Good messengers know how to do it.

Bearers of bad news also anticipate the concerns and questions. They make sure their audience gets the right messages.

How or why do they accomplish these goals?

Typically, good messengers have five traits:

1. Authenticity

Messengers have already developed a reputation for trust. They lay the groundwork by being trustworthy in all that they do.

That means not being a people-pleaser. People-pleasers are manipulators – an undesirable label. They don’t try to spin all the news as positive.

When it comes time to deliver bad news, they’re regarded with credibility and high esteem.

2. Directness

In this age, most people are astute. They understand spin. Whether the bearer of bad news has to give a speech or have a one-on-one conversation, the person should accurately explain the situation right away.

So the message should be concise and to-the-point. If not, the messenger’s trustworthiness will take a big hit. Plus, a cover-up always leads to worse repercussions.

3. Communicate with clarity

People who are successful in delivering bad news do so because they speak with clarity. They don’t hide or distort the facts.

They don’t just dump a lot of misunderstood statistics onto the audience. Good messengers think in terms of key takeaways. In fact, they highlight them.

4. Have serenity

Such people maximize their chances to generate confidence. They come from a position of calmness – even if the news is sudden and it wasn’t forecast, the messengers remain unruffled.

They provide the information with eye contact – slowly – with each person. In a sense, they speak with finality – they make sure the end of each sentence is in a low pitch.

People who end their sentences high in pitch or volume appear to lack in confidence and self esteem – not good for the messenger of bad news.

5. Understand positives

Affected audience members want to know if the messenger is insightful and empathetic – in addition to being honest.

While it’s important to focus on why and what is going wrong, what also matters is for the messenger to look for positives and derive solutions for the audience.

In other words, paint the picture of a vision that everyone might appreciate and understand.

From the Coach’s Corner, for numerous articles on leadership, go here.

Here are related communication strategies:

How to Grow Your EI for Leadership Success — Emotional intelligence (EI) is important for communication and leadership. A person who has EI is able to evaluate, understand, and control emotions.

10 Management Attributes for Effective Communication — Communication skills are critical for managers. People with enhanced abilities in communication typically have successful relationships at work and home. Good communicators typically have 10 attributes.

A Top Marketing Goal: Enhance Your Internal Communication — Businesses have two communication sources that are expenses that conversely are sources of profit – the external marketplace – and internal, their human capital. But all your money poured into marketing doesn’t accomplish much unless you devote equal resources to employee programs and communication.

Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing — It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech or when you’re entering an important round of negotiations. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another. When you allow this to happen, in a sense, you’re giving away your personal power, which inhibits your performance.

Public Speaking: How to Earn Loyalty, Trust from Your Audience — For success in giving a speech, you must be able to bond with your audience. How? If you use a simple technique you can earn loyalty and trust with your audience members. Many speakers, however, overlook using the technique.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”



Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.