Talking Straight: Helping Others to Handle “Bad News”
We often worry about conversations where we have to deliver some tough news that others will perceive as bad news. It might involve an impending organizational change, performance issue, a career transition or perhaps limited growth opportunities. In reality, most bad news is not news; the rumor mill in organizations works very efficiently; the person has most likely sensed something is going on. However, until people are confronted by the direct impact of the news for themselves, they may believe that exceptions will be made, or that there is still time to stop or reverse it.
Although it may seem uncomfortable to the messenger, it’s necessary for most of us to first experience the bad part of the news before we can move to acceptance and possibly see the part that might be beneficial. As messengers of the difficult communication, we may wish to manage the negative reaction as quickly as possible and move on to the positive, thus tending to ignore or deny the other’s feelings of fear, loss, and/or sadness. We may sugarcoat and soften the message or even exaggerate the effect.
Talking Straight means giving people straightforward and accurate information with empathy, but also with the expectation that they are adults who can handle it. Straight talk is respectful of the other person and provides the other person with important information. It is realistic and supportive at the same time, facilitating the other in taking action. In this session, we focus on the skills for delivering difficult information and on responding to the receiver in a constructive way. We practice a process for helping others hear, deal with, and respond to information that they may perceive negatively.
Talking Straight is available virtually as one of our “Learning Journeys.” Fill out the information request form to learn more.
Upcoming start dates
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- Virtual Classroom
Who should attend?
This program is intended for:
- Individual contributors who want to improve their communication skills
- Project leaders, managers, team members, internal consultants, or anyone responsible for delivering “bad news” or critical feedback.
- Talking Straight definition: What it is and what it is not.
- What are the consequences of not “talking straight?”
- What are some of the barriers to 'talking straight'?
Talking Straight model
- Moving Forward\
Planning a “straight talk” conversation
- Feedback Attributes: Activity to share the best feedback ever received.
- Review the impact of feedback based on employee performance and the quality of the feedback given.
- Feedback Model: E2 C2 (Example, Effect, Change or Continue)
- Feedback Activity (teacher, learner, and observer): The teacher selects something to teach to the learner, observer provides feedback to the teacher, using the feedback model.
- Fieldwork Assignment: Plan for a meeting with someone to whom you need to give feedback.
- Empathy: Activity to create a working definition of what empathy means and why empathy is vital in the workplace
- Feedback conversation flow
- Distractions: What are some barriers that prevent us from being attentive listeners?
- Three types of listening: Internal Listening, Active Listening, and Whole Person Listening
Feedback Practice: Practice your plan from your fieldwork practice.
Common Responses to Feedback: Activity to create guidelines for feedback reactions, dos, and don'ts.
Summary, Close, and Action Planning
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Certification / Credits
Participants will deepen their knowledge about typical responses to difficult news, build confidence by practicing a process for conducting challenging conversations about the impact of change, loss or delay of a career opportunity, or performance issues, apply learning to a real upcoming scenario that will involve a difficult conversation, and describe and manage their own and others’ resistance to change.
Average rating 5
The course covered a very practical topic that can be applied to our daily lives. It provided a quick and easy way to acquire a skill that may not be easy for us. It also prov...
The material was presented in a clear and easy format to follow; there was plenty of time for discussion about each topic. Other strengths of the course were the ability to prac...
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