Kindlings: How to Deliver Bad News

A common issue I have encountered working with hundreds of speaking and training clients all over the US is failure to deliver bad news in a timely manner.

Most people don't deliver bad news because they are afraid of the reaction.  They know the co-worker, employer or customer will be unhappy, maybe even angry. And yet all of those reactions are so much worse the longer you delay.  There are keys to delivering bad news quickly in a way that's designed to minimize fallout and prevent big reactions.

What to Do:

• Prepare  Do your homework. Get as much information as you can. Get all the facts and have solutions to the issue already in mind.

• In person and timely  If at all possible, go and deliver the news in person and do it immediately.  Never deliver bad news in snail mail or email. It's cowardly.

• Be direct, clear and honest  Tell them exactly what's happening, why and what you can do about it.

Demonstrate Empathy and Compassion  Acknowledge that this is upsetting to them.  Truly listen and say things like, "I understand."

Show them a way out- a positive solution. Spend most of the conversation on the solution and how this will help them.  If you don't have one, brainstorm with them about possible ways to resolve the issue.

• Key words to avoid and to say instead (from Kristin Robertson, KR Consulting)

AVOID THESE                                 SAY INSTEAD

“ You should”                         “We can do this together- let me show you”

“ You can’t”                            “One alternative for you would be”

“ I can’t”                                 “Here’s what I CAN do for you”

“ No”                                      “I’m sorry- that’s not possible because”

Always reference what’s in it for them.

Listen fully and correct any misunderstandings.  Get your information and promises correct and keep them to the letter.

Ask for their continued support and willingness to work with you. Express your sincere desire to have an ongoing positive relationship and ask them to give you the chance to make it right.

All of us face challenges and problems in our businesses, and we all have bad news to give at some time.  The way you do it makes all the difference in the outcome.

 

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Speak Kind Words- Avoid Gossip

Have you ever noticed that some words impact you very differently than others? As Stephen Covey writes in the introduction to Aspire by Kevin Hall : "words sell and words repel, words lead and words impede, words heal and words kill."  

Male Gossips 2What words do you use in your conversations with co-workers, employees, loved ones?  How about what you say to yourself?  Out of the 70,000 thoughts we have a day, many of those are negative and judgmental, especially towards ourselves. Become aware of the words you use and the tone with which they are delivered; you could make or break someone's day.

And before you share some juicy piece of gossip, ask yourself these three questions:

- Is it truthful?

- Is is necessary?

- Is it uplifting?

 

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©2013 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

 

Increase Your Confidence with Power Poses

Change Your Physiology with Power Poses

 

“Our nonverbals govern how other people think and feel about us.” Amy Cuddy
Amy Cuddy, in her excellent TedX video on youtube, shares some fascinating information about body language and positions of power.  Many people collapse in on themselves during periods of stress, demonstrated physically by crossed legs, ankles, arms, hunched shoulders, hands in front of body. Confident people spread out, open up, take up space.
 
To gain more powerstand in the Wonder Woman pose (or Superman) for 2 minutes before a stressful event like a big meeting, speech, interview, etc. Amy's research shows that doing that for 2 minutes actually increases your testoterone and lowers your cortisol levels (stress hormone.) Other power poses are the victory pose (arms in air shaped like v) or arms crossed behind your head.  Stretch out, open your body up, breathe deeply and take up more space. Try it and see what a difference it makes.

©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference


Make the Most of Your Millenial Employees

Shaking handsMillenials are one of the fastest growing employee groups worldwide, and they have the most customer interaction of any age segment. Managers often wonder how to motivate them, since they crave flexibility and meaning.  Here are a few tips from expert Jason Dorsey:

• Give them at least 10 seconds of specific feedback a month from a senior person (they like communication)
 
• Make their first day at work memorable; start them on a less stressful day than Monday and pair them with a same gender peer for the office tour (they'll ask better questions)
 
• Honor their birthday in a special way as they like to celebrate all month long
 
• Coach them to ask for opportunities to demonstrate their potential; they want to grow and move up
 

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©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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Communication Tip for Winning Teams

Check In Weekly Face to Face

team communication is the key to successIf you have employees or co-workers, one of the most important things you can do to keep your team communication on track is to check in weekly.  Take a half-hour in an non-threatening, informal setting and sit down over coffee and chat.  Ask how they think things are going, ask them if they have any questions, issues or concerns.  Share your issues and concerns. Clear the air over any misunderstandings or communication breakdowns.

Let them know you value them and that they are important to you.  Praise them for work well done and coach them on areas for improvement. People are so hungry for positive feedback.

This will go a long way towards strengthening your working relationship and keeping a positive tone at work.

©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

Stress Tip: Ask for What You Want

At Work, At Home, Made Your Needs Clear

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!So many times, we get upset because someone did not do what we wanted how we wanted it, and we did not get our needs met. The easiest way to overcome this is to be crystal clear about what you want and ask for it. Most people are grateful to have clarity and to know how to help and support you.  They want to participate in your life but may not know how.

I have found at home that my wonderful husband cannot read my mind. So I ask, "The garbage is really smelly- could you please take it out now?"  He responds very well to requests. (Rather than complaints- most of us are like that.)

When you are swamped at work, at the end of your rope and so stressed, you are snapping at others, ask for help.  Try a  request like " This week is going to be difficult for me because I am overwhelmed with the new regulations. Could you please help me by following up on the___ project?  I don't want to slow down our progress.  Thanks so much for your assistance with this."  Others will be happy to help when you clue them in.

©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

A Good Customer Service Story

All it Takes is Kindness and Attention

Thank you notes keep employees Fired Up!

A few weeks ago, between appointments, I ran into Dillards to return something and stopped by the Estee Lauder counter.  Surprisingly, I had a delightful time.  Karen greeted me warmly, inquired as to my needs and then went a step further. She got to know me. She observed I had bought some new suits, and I explained I was a professional speaker. We had a great conversation about stress, and she said, "Let me check your previous sales slip." Seems I was entitled to a 10% discount that had not been taken by the other salesperson. She voided out everything, reentered it and saved me over $20 on a variety of purchases.  She took my name and contact info for future sales, and gave me a card.  It was a wonderful experience.  She demonstrated a personal interest, valued me, made my shopping more positive and memorable. That's what I call customer service. How are you doing that for your customers?

©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

Give Your Clients Information the Way THEY Want It

 Everyone Is Different: Pay Attention to Their Needs

Fire Up your business with global connectionsDo you know how your clients prefer information?  I recently learned that one of my important contacts really dislikes the phone, and prefers skype or face to face meetings. That was a big surprise to me. And a little challenging since she lives on the West Coast and I am on the East Coast.

Some clients are not auditory- you can tell them things over the phone but the data is lost. (Most people are not auditory- they are visual.)  Visuals prefer the written word, whether by fax or email. Some don't want attachments other than PDF files.  Some folks want reports set up in a specific way, followed by a confirming phone call.

Ask your customers and key contacts how they would most like to receive information and then change your work habits to suit THEIR needs. A recent client said she rarely checks email, so that if I send her something important, I should call so she checks her email.  That was very useful to know.

Find out what works for your key clients.  It can often dramatically improve communication effectiveness and ensure a smooth working relationship.  

 

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©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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Communicate Well by Asking Open-Ended Questions

And Actively Listen to the Answers

At work, one of the best ways to improve your relationships with your colleagues, superiors and direct reports is to ask meaningful open-ended questions and then sit back and listen- actively.  In an earlier blog post, I described active listening as the state where you focus completely on the other person, don't speak, have open body language and nod encouragingly as you listen.

When you do that after asking questions which require more than a yes or no answer, amazing things happen to your communication.

Here's an example. Let's say you're workingon a major project with many components and several colleagues. Try asking a question like "Could you please give me your perspective on the status of the project?"  If they answer, "It's going fine," say "Tell me more.  Could you give me an overall update on thehighs and lows and any concerns/ suggestions you may have?"  That way, you will receive much more detailed information and gain some new insights. It's much more effective than saying, "How's the project going?" because that might yield only a one or two word answer.  Thank the colleague for sharing their perceptions and decide what you want to do with the information.  Either way, you'll have shown the colleague that you value them and their input, and you may very well have gained new data you didn't have before.

 

Need a great Christmas present for the woman in your life? Get the Fired Up Woman's Guide to Success™  Audio Series - see more

 

 

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
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Look for the Best in Others


What You Think About Does Make a Big Difference

In his new book, Social Intelligence, Daniel  Goleman writes about recent brain research: "One person's inner state affects and drives the other person....We actually catch each other's emotions like a cold." The moresignificant the relationship is, the greater the impact on the other person.   Our thoughts have tremendous power.  The ramifications of  this are interesting.

If you have annoying co-workers or employees, and you continue to think that they are obnoxious or rude, or whatever your belief system is about them, you will unconsciously be creating more of what you don't want in them.  If, on the other hand, you start focusing on their good qualities, both inside yourself and verbally to them, you will help strengthen their positive characteristics and your relationship.

This has great implications for employer-employee relationships, wherea perceptive boss who becomes aware of her/his thoughts, can actually contribute to an employee's greater success... just by the way they think about that employee.

Thoughts are incredibly powerful, so monitor yours carefully and think about what you truly want to create in your life.

 

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No  duplication 
or reprinting without permission and author reference.