How, when and where should you communicate bad news?

Follow this guidance from savvy industry pros to be more of an empathetic helper than a heartless henchman.

Communicating bad news

You’ve suspected for months that trouble was brewing at the office.

Turns out you were right—and it’s bad. Now, guess who gets to do the honors?

Dear communicator, stop me if you’ve heard this before from bigwigs eager to pass the bad news buck:

Hopefully you’ve never been conscripted by some aloof or weaselly exec into an executioner’s role, but we all must occasionally bear bad news.

Here’s advice from seasoned pros on how to be more of an empathetic helper than a heartless henchman when the time comes:

How, when and where to do it 

First, determine whether the announcement or edict applies to the whole staff—or just a select few. If the axe is falling on just one person, be discreet but direct. “If I have to let someone go I do it first thing in the morning on Friday, that way it gives them the entire weekend to process and digest everything,” advises Ben Walker, CEO of Transcription Outsourcing.

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