The Art Of Delivering Bad News

Let’s face it – not every speech that you’ll give will be one that your audience will want to hear. There are times that we are asked to give a speech that will contain bad news for our audience. When this happens, we will need a special set of speaker skills in order to effectively communicate our message in a way that shows sensitivity to our audience. It’s not only how you organize your message, but also how you go about delivering it.

Your Goal When Delivering Bad News

The one thing that you definitely don’t want to do when you have been asked to deliver bad news to an audience is to wrap it in a “good news / bad news” wrapper. This is an old technique that is too often associated with comedy routines and since what you are talking about will not make anyone laugh, it is inappropriate to use it here.

The reason that you have been asked to deliver bad news can be varied. Possible reasons can include announcing layoffs, reorganizations, announcing acquisitions, changes in benefit programs, budget overruns, schedule delays, and poor financial results. The group that you will be talking to can vary in size from large groups, to small groups, and sometimes even in one-to-one conversations. The challenge is that there is no easy way to deliver news like this. However, there are speaking techniques that can make your delivery of the information more effective and as a result, makes it easier for you to do it.

The first thing that you’ll need to do when you are asked to deliver bad news is to take the time to study your audience. What you are going to want to do is identify the information that this audience is going to both accept and understand. It is critical that you stay away from humor at this point in time – your audience won’t appreciate because the outcome of your speech is going to be very serious.

How To Start The Delivery Of Bad News

One of the biggest challenges that any speaker faces is in deciding how best to start a speech that is going to be filled with bad news. As you take the stage to begin your speech, the audience will be filled with dread as they eagerly await what you will be telling them. What you are going to want to do is to start your speech with a simple statement that contains relevant information for this audience. You’ll want to make a statement that everyone can agree with. Starting things off this way will allow you to draw in your audience and will set the stage for exploring the set of circumstance that lead to the current situation. Heavy News

What you want your audience to do is to listen to you. The neutrality of your opening statement will allow this to happen. If instead you started your speech with a statement that members of your audience did not agree with, then you would have already lost them as they stopped listening and started to form arguments in their head. If you start your speech off with bad news then this will come across as being too abrupt. You won’t have given your audience enough time to both anticipate and prepare for the message that you are delivering to them.

You want to communicate to your audience that you’ve taken the time to carefully consider what you will be sharing with them. These ideas have not been casually created. In order to get this across to them you are going to want to include in the start of your speech a statement of a significant but evident fact. This will send a signal to your audience that the message that you will be delivering to them is a serious message and that you have spent time carefully considering it. This will set a serious tone for the rest of your speech.


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