No-Bad-News Fridays!

Julie Freemen reports that many respondents to a survey in the Nov/Dec issue of CW said that bad news in their companies is delivered by e-mail.

Delivering bad news shouldn’t be the simple act of blurting out a tough message. The deliverer should also watch for the impact of the message on the recipient and be prepared to talk it through after the recipient has had a chance to consider the message and its implications.

The worst possible time to deliver bad news in a work environment is a Friday. This gives the recipient little or no time to consider the news and to have a follow-up discussion to work through its implications (and often the solutions) before the weekend. So, he or she is likely to end up going home and mulling over the bad news through the full weekend. Not a very nice way to spend the weekend. And not a very likely prescription to make someone feel good about their place of work!

At my company, Thornley Fallis, we do not deliver bad news on a Friday. If we must deliver bad news, we try to deliver it early in the week so that we can schedule follow up conversations to work through the implications and positive steps that can be taken to turn bad news into a positive experience – an experience that can be learned from and can form the basis of constructive action.

Julie wants to hear from other communicators about how bad news is delivered in your organizations. Post your comments at the IABC Communication Commons Employee Forum.