The hardest thing you have to do as a leader is to present difficult news to people. At our Presentation Skills Seminars we talk about what usually happens when we have to present difficult news is that we approach it in one of two ways.

The first approach is very apologetic, brings up lots of reasons as to why we have to share that news, and virtually asks the audience to validate or forgive us for delivering the news. It is almost like begging the audience to accept what we are saying.

The second approach is to talk at the audience and defy them to not accept what we are saying. This usually angers your audience and leads them to feel that you believe you are better than they are.

You will learn in our Executive Presentation Skills Seminar about when you have to deliver difficult news, it is best to do it much like removing a Band-Aid—simply rip it off. You need to state things as clearly as possible, don’t sugarcoat it, and assume they have the ability to handle the news positively.

One leader I worked with had to address his entire office about a major layoff. At first, he wanted to approach the subject by making them understand why he was doing this, asking them not to be angry at him. The second approach he wanted to take was to just simply lay out the facts, tell them it was just the way it had to be done, and that they needed to deal with it.

I told him to simply tell the group exactly what he was feeling.

So even though he had a very difficult situation, people understood the choices he made and that he made this decision as a last resort.

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