Test the Waters Before You Announce Bad News

9 years, 2 months ago - June 06, 2013
When there's tough news to deliver, we often assume the right thing to do is tell everyone who is affected at once. But controversial and emotional news can be difficult to announce in a large public forum.

Also, it can be extremely helpful to understand what the reaction might be to the information before issuing a broader statement. Share news one on one with a few people to gauge reactions and better understand how they feel about the change. When dealing with nuanced information, these one-on-one conversations are much more effective than an email announcement that can come off as emotionless or insensitive. Ask for feedback: what is clearly understood and what could use more explanation? Most importantly, ask them to keep the news in confidence. Don't delay too long before making a formal announcement, however, because news, especially bad news, can leak fast.

 

Text by Harvard Business School Publishing

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