Public Speakers Learn How To Deliver Bad News

Caption: How bad news is received depends on how it is delivered
Caption: How bad news is received depends on how it is delivered
Image Credit: Thomas8047

Life can be rough. We are not always in control of what is going on and things happen that we don’t want to have happen. It’s bad enough when things like this happen to us, but it’s even worse when it happens to others. As public speakers, there will be times when because of the importance of public speaking we are called upon to use our public speaking skills to deliver bad news to an audience. Once you get over your initial reaction to run away, you’re going to have to make some decisions about how you want to deliver this news.

Get Used To The News Before You Speak

What can make bad news even worse? If it affects you also. You may not agree with the message that you’ve been asked to deliver. That’s ok – it’s not up to you to understand everything that may be going on. However, you do owe your audience a fair and balanced speech.

What this means is that you are going to have to get over whatever emotions the bad news is creating inside of you. When you give your speech, you don’t want to be bringing any negative energy to the speech. If you do that, then you’ll just end up feeding any of the negative emotions that your bad news is creating in your audience.

Cut To The Chase

As public speakers, we all have our own way of writing the speeches that we’re going to give. Often we like to start with an opening, move to the middle, and the wrap things up with a strong closing. This kind of structure can cause problems when we’re delivering bad news. Our audience knows that we’re going to be delivering bad news – if we take our time getting to it, they are going to become restless.

You need to understand how your audience is feeling. They are under a great deal of stress and as they sit waiting for you to begin your speech they are on high alert to hear what the bad news is going to be. If you take too long to get to the part that they want to hear, then you will have made the anticipation even worse than the actual bad news.

It’s All In The Timing

Just exactly when you are going to give your bad news speech is almost as important as what you are going to say. We need to realize that if you wait too long to give the speech, the rumors that are always flying around may have clouded everyone’s view of the current situation. Additionally, if you move too quickly, you may not have had time to consider all of the ramifications of the current situation and you may deliver your message with too much emotion.

Just as important as when you choose to deliver your bad news, you also have to take a moment and step into the shoes of your audience. You need to understand what their frame of mind is. What time of day or day of week will work best with their schedule?

What All Of This Means For You

In this life, bad things happen. As a public speaker, because of the benefits of public speaking you are going to be placed in a position where you may be called on to deliver bad news to an audience. Keeping in mind that how the bad news will be received by them will depend on how you deliver it, you are going to have to carefully plan this speech out.

It is entirely possible that the bad news that you are going to be delivering affects you in some way. What this means is that you need to take time to get used to the message that you’ll be delivering before you try to share it with others. When you are telling your audience about the news, you need to get right to it. Don’t build up to the “big announcement” – your audience already knows what’s coming so get to it. Finally, if there is bad news to be delivered, it makes sense to deliver it sooner rather than later. Rumors will be making the rounds already so it’s important that you set the record straight.

None of us look forward to having to deliver bad news to an audience. However, this does provide us with an opportunity to become better public speakers. Make sure that you respect your audience and deliver the news in a way that allows them to understand what is going on and how it will impact them.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long should a bad news speech be?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I wish that I could tell you that every speech that you’ll give will be bright and happy. However, I won’t tell you that because you know as well as I do that life simply is not that way. There will be times that because of the importance of public speaking we are called on to deliver bad news to your audience. This puts you in a very difficult position – how you deliver this news is going to have a big impact on how it affects your audience. The good news is that there are two things that you can do that will make it easier for your audience to deal with what you are telling them.