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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Reduce Holiday Stress by Setting Boundaries

Set Boundaries to Cut Down on Stress this Season

Stress Express; Family FightingThere's no question that the holidays can bring out the best and the worst in people, particularly families.  There's so much pressure to decorate, get the right gifts, prepare for visitors, cook and clean and handle excited children, all on top of work.

So how do you reduce holiday stress?  Set boundaries and say no more often.

• if you're hosting an event at your home, ask those coming to bring a dish or a beverage.  Be specific and clear about what you want.  Don't try to do it all.

Limit sugar intake yourself and for your children.  Sugar just adds another layer of craziness to the stress.

Say no when asked to attend an extra event or make a batch of cookies.  Take care of yourself first.

Ask for help- from your partner, your children, etc.  Ask them to help decorate, clean up, do the laundry, etc. at this busy time of year.

Avoid familial conflict.  If two family members always fight during festivities, speak to them in advance and ask them to avoid each other or be kind.  Tell them if they can't, then they are not welcome in your home.  If they start trouble, they will be asked to leave.  Make it clear your home is a "no fighting" zone.

The holidays can be joyful and meaningful times to celebrate faith, love and hope.  Take care of yourself and reduce your holiday stress by setting boundaries that support you and your peace of mind.

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©2017, Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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How to Truly Give Thanks at Home this Week

Giving Thanks: Thursday is More than Just a Day for Food and Football

Two friends giving thanks for each otherIn the United States, it's Thanksgiving this week.  As we prepare delicious food, plan on parades and games, take the time to  give thanks  and acknowledge others in special ways, especially at home.

Do things for others without being asked. Go the extra mile to help clean, wash laundry, buy groceries. And get them something you know they will love.

If you're skillful with tools, ask if you may fix things around the house of the one you're visiting. Ask what needs to be done.

Listen to an older family member.  Ask questions and give them your full attention.  They don't have it very often. Give thanks for their wisdom and knowledge.

Use touch to convey your thanks and love. Giving a shoulder rub can ease tension instantly. Hugging your mother will melt her heart.  Patting a child on the back and letting them know they did a good job elicits a smile.

Cook with love.  Make foods that you know people dear to you appreciate and crave.

Do something unexpected but highly appreciated. Perhaps bring a new game for the kids or take everyone outside on a nature walk.  Share photos of recent work you have done.  Interview family for a future archived family video.

Don't take others for granted. If your family is small enough, write a hand-written card for each one letting them know what you specifically appreciate about them.

Turn off your devices and be present with others.

Enjoy your holidays by expressing gratitude from your heart.

 

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Give the Gift of Your Presence

Me and Cinderella
Me and Cinderella

Be Here Now

In the US, we celebrated Mother's Day yesterday.  My own mother died when I was 21, after a long terminal illness.  I still miss her delectible meals, artistic talent and haunting beauty.  While she ill, I was cared for by an incredible woman named Cinderella. I was so blessed to have her in my life. She gave me my love, my hugs, my values and my unconditional support.  Sadly, she died a few years ago of Alzheimers. I am so grateful I got to see her before she died, and she knew who I was.  Those moments meant everything.

We're in the season of so many celebrations, weddings, graduations, birthdays.
Be sure you give a meaningful gift, one of your physical presence.  Without distractions, your presence can meet more to someone than any store-bought gift.

How to Make Your Visit More Memorable

• Turn off your cell phone, beeper, and any electronics when you are with your loved one. No TV's either.

• Make eye contact most all the time you are there.  Lean in and let the person know you are truly listening.  Feed back what they have said and ask them questions about it.

• Spend some meaningful time.  10 minutes is not enough.  You know what is.

• Do things for this person that they can't do themselves.  Help them out with grace and dignity.

After this kind of visit, both of you will feel the love.

 

 

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©2015 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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Dignity and Respect- For Yourself and Others

Helping Others Needs to Be a Two Way Street

Most of us have been raised thinking it's appropriate to be generous, kind, loving and helpful to others.  In in today's world with so much suffering, we are increasingly asked to reach out and help. And if we can and are willing to do so, without strings attached, we should. Sharing the wealth of heart and wallet is a good thing.

But the key here is to do so while allowing the other person to have dignity.  Every human being has a sense of pride and self-worth, and truly no one wants to beg for assistance if they can help it.  When giving aid in any form, whether it's advice, money, clothing or food, be sure to allow the recipient to have dignity.

Kevin Hall, in his wonderful book Aspire, explains it eloquently when he tells the story of Pravin and "genshai."  Genshai means never treating another person in a way that would make them feel small.  So if you are giving money to a beggar, you don't toss a coin to them, you get down to their level, look them in the eye and smile. Then you give them the money and say "bless you." You are treating them with respect.

An interesting twist on this is to practice genshai with yourself.  Never treat yourself in a way that would make you feel small.  And most of us do this regularly. We criticize ourselves mercilessly, judging our actions and finding fault.  All that does is lower our self-esteem and create guilt and resentment patterns against ourselves.  If you feel you did something in a less than perfect way, forgive yourself and move on.  Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.

___________________

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©2014 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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Heroes Among Us…

There are Good People Everywhere

You may have read about her or seen her on Ellen®. The story of the the young waitress in Concord, NH who paid the bill for two furloughed women from the National Guard. That meant she made only $8 in tips that day, which did not cover the struggling single mother's gas.

The soldiers posted the kind note Sarah had written them on Facebook® and Sarah ended up on Ellen, where she received an amazing surprise.  Ellen gave her a $10,000 reward for her kindness.

Or maybe you read about Adam Warwick, a biologist with the Wildlife Commission, who saved the life of a black bear in Florida, who had been shot with a tranquilizer and almost drowned in the water.  Adam fearlessly jumped in and saved the bear, without regard to his personal safety.

There are stories like this everyday, but you probably don't hear them much because the news focuses on the bad and sensationalist stories.  There are real heroes among us.  If you don't think so, check out this video on youtube about 5 heroic kids. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QrT5Iizviw

Acts of kindness give your life meaning and bring incredible joy to your life. Focus on the good you are doing, others are doing and celebrate that.

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Conscious Acts of Kindness

Holding the hand of anotherA great many studies including one on 2000 people found that being kind to others decreases stress and enhances mental health.  Pick one day this week and choose to deliberately commit 5 separate acts of kindness.  These should be chosen and intentional acts, but they do not need to be big things.  Something as simple as paying the tokens for the people behind you in the toll booth or paying for the next person's coffee, or taking a muffin to 5 different people in your office- all of those would be great conscious acts of kindness which impact others and most importantly, make you feel happier.
Other examples:
• make a pie for a neighbor who has been shut-in
• pick up extra groceries for a lonely person
• bring doughnuts or bagels to work
• send flowers for no reason
• feed a homeless animal
• clean out your closets and donate to the homeless
Any step you take to share from the heart will make you happier.