By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
The changing political and economic scenario across the country, has led to situations where many of us are communicating bad news, both personally and professionally, without appearing rude.
Communicating bad news to co-workers:
A tough job, as it’s much easier to let go of people for non-performance than for economic constraints. Taking care of the legalities, make it easier using the following:
- Bad news in face-to-face meetings only: Firing somebody via email is too impersonal and if they hear the bad news from the company’s grapevine, it’s even worse.
- Schedule a meeting with the employee: Devote adequate time, allowing them to recover from the initial shock.
- Human Touch: Offer that he/she can take off the rest of the day, as they may prefer to come to terms with it by spending time with their family or in solitude, instead of interacting with coworkers.
- Use a cabin or a meeting room, with the door closed, making sure that no other employee can overhear you.
- Extend support by praising the person intermittently, making them feel positive about their future. Provide referrals, letters of recommendation or offer to put them in touch with people who could be of help.
- Keep in touch: Most employees complain that they never hear from their previous employers. Speak with them once in a while, inquiring about their progress. Send an occasional email about a potential job in the market.
Just remember, that when good times come back, employees always remember people/ companies who respected their dignity when the going was tough!
- Is it acceptable to email your condolence? An immediate email sent upon hearing the sad news to an email-savvy bereaved person may be viewed as a non-obtrusive way of showing that your thoughts are with them. However, it must be followed with a personal visit or a phone call.
- How to communicate to a colleague/ business associate that he/she has overstayed? Don’t feel guilty about ending a meeting that’s outrun its allotted time. Start mildly and escalate:
· First, Non-verbally: Looking at your wrist watch (time-tested formula), breaking eye contact or looking distracted briefly.
· Next, Verbally: A mild “It’s already four o clock! We have spent over an hour discussing…” or a polite “Thanks for dropping by, it’s wonderful catching up” or a direct” I have another meeting in a few minutes”
· Finally, Action: Get up from your chair, smile warmly, and shaking hands slowly start walking towards the cabin / meeting-room door.