3 Tips to Handle Bad News

When your job hands you lemons, how do you make lemonade?

It’s not always easy but recently three individuals who have been handling difficult news each shared a tip for making lemonade from difficult news.

  1. Identify your value proposition. Mary Ellin Arch, spokesperson for Pocahontas 895 toll road in Virginia, shared how nobody likes toll increases. However, when she talks about how a road saves the person time, it lessens the impact of the rate increase news. “It becomes the good news,” she said.
  2. Share your own bad news. Ray Kozakewicz, who formerly worked for Media General, said it’s important to get your own bad news out before others report on it. “It is very important that you don’t sugarcoat your bad news,” he said. In dealing with staff layoffs, Kozakewicz also emphasized the importance of holding special meetings and identifying key message points.
  3. Identify stakeholders and their issues. Once you know the issues, you can build the message points, said Chet Ward of Dominion. Even though Virginia rates are lower compared to others, customers don’t want to hear that, Ward said. “They want to know about reliability. We have to provide reliable information about reliability. We don’t talk about rates, we talk about what you get for your money.”
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