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Bearer of Bad News and How to Deliver

bearer of bad newsBeing the bearer of bad news is never easy. It can be a huge responsibility and should be handled appropriately. Depending on the type of news, it can have a huge emotional impact on the person, so you have to be extremely efficient when communicating. In this article, we will discuss some things to think about when delivering bad news and how they play into delivery.

•Choosing the right setting
•Being Prepared
•Consider Perspectives
•Be direct and clear.
•Show Empathy
•Give information gradually.
•Encourage questions
•Offer support
•Respect silence
•Follow up
•Be mindful of body language.
•Avoid blame

This is quite a lot to think about when having to deliver some bad news. However, it can all be extremely helpful to deliver the news in a way that is more helpful and considerate to the person receiving the news. On top of that, you will also feel better about delivering the news, considering you will have some sort of preparation in place.

being the bearer of bad newsPlanning delivery

Now that we have an outline of things to consider, let’s take a look at how we can approach them.
1. Choosing the right setting is the first step. Discuss an appropriate place to deliver the news and make sure it is private. It is important that the delivery be uninterrupted so the conversation doesn’t feel rushed. Try to choose a location that is comforting and calm.
2. Being prepared is very crucial to delivering bad news properly. Hopefully, with the information in this article, you will be able to prepare adequately. Be sure to gather all available information before delivering. Work on your choice of words and choose appropriately. Try to think of how the person may react to what you’re telling them and how you may respond.
3. Considering the receiving end’s perspective is very important. Do your best to understand what you’re telling them and how it may affect them. Be mindful of their cultural, religious, or personal beliefs that may play into their reaction.
4. Being direct and clear with the information you’re presenting them with is paramount to their understanding of what you’re telling them. Avoid using complex language or slang terms. State facts clearly without embellishment.
5. Show Empathy. Using a calm and caring voice, let them know that you understand how difficult this news must be.
6. Give the information gradually. When the news is complex or emotionally charged, it is best to break it down into smaller points. Of course, give them all the necessary information, but try not to overwhelm them. Allow the person to process and have an opportunity to ask questions.
7. Encourage questions. Let the person know that you are there to help answer any questions they may have. If you don’t have all the answers, be honest. If you can find the answers and the situation calls for them, commit to seeking them.
8. Offer support. Let them know that you are here for them during this difficult time. If necessary, provide resources and information on steps to move forward.
9. Respect silence. Sometimes people may not have a reaction right away and will need time to process the information you’ve given. Let them have that time, and do not rush it.
10. Follow up. Following up with the person after some time has passed can be very reassuring for them. It lets them know you care and that you are thinking of them during a difficult time.
11. Be mindful of body language. Keep an eye on their body language and how they are reacting, as well as your own. Do your best to maintain an open and non-threatening presence.
12. Avoid blame. If the news happens to be the result of an action or decision they have made, focus on the situation. Try not to place the blame on them. This can only make the situation worse.


Delivering bad news is not fun, but when approached correctly, it can be done well enough that both parties walk away feeling okay. It can be quite a burden for the person delivering, but can yield a greater bond between the receiver and the messenger. Being there for someone is easy to do, and it is quite rewarding. So, the next time you have to deliver bad news, create your plan using the considerations above, and it will make it a much easier experience overall.




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