Tom Bird and Jeremy Cassell offer advice on the harsh reality of breaking difficult news or unwelcome decisions
As leaders, you often have to deliver high-stakes presentations and some of these can involve presenting challenging messages. This might be communicating a tough or unwelcome decision or introducing change. How do the best leaders do this effectively? What do they focus on in their planning and delivery that creates the best chance of these challenging messages being received with alacrity?
We have worked with leaders for the past 20 years and there are six key principles they us in the planning and delivery of their presentations that are effective in these situations:
Finally, with all difficult messages, it is possible that the audience will go into either denial or resistance. These are the first two phases of the Kübler-Ross curve and it’s important that you realise this is nothing personal – it is simply how people often react to significant change. If your audience do not immediately respond positively to your message it may just be that they need time to take it in and process it. Don’t take their reaction personally. As long as you have planned using these steps and delivered your message with empathy, authenticity and integrity you have ‘controlled the controllables’.
Tom Bird and Jeremy Cassell are authors of , The Leader's Guide to Presenting: How to Use Soft Skills to Get Hard Results, winners of 2018 The Business Book Awards. The Business Books Awards 2019 is now open for entries.
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