Can you write a list of the top ten ways to make good news after you’ve been hit with bad news? How about 7 ways, or even just 3? As a leader and business speaker it is up to you to make good news and communicate it with your audiences.
Making good news is not just a trite expression along the lines of as “when life sends you lemons, make lemonade.” Serious people will dismiss that message as so much pablum.
Making good news means:
- Take a longer view
- Analyze your weaknesses and find your strengths
- Seek help or support from places you don’t typically look
- Speak about the bad news and the good news in real, human language, not in business speak/jargon
- Create new and fresh approaches; don’t rely on “the way we always do things”
Take a longer view: bad news feels very powerful because it is immediate and present. First acknowledge this. Then tell a true story about a similar time in the past when bad news was huge, yet after weeks, months or even years, you and the company made good news. The story will be more compelling than any data, logical arguments or planning.
Analyze your weaknesses and find your strengths: You cannot fix things that you don’t fully understand and recognize, so an inventory of your weaknesses is the starting point. Then look for your strengths–either as the opposite of your weaknesses or as an antidote to them.
Seek help or support from places you don’t typically look: When you’re weighed down by bad news it is especially hard to go looking for help. You want to hunker down and regroup, yet most of the time it is fresh thinking from an outsider that will most quickly and powerfully lead to making good news.
Speak about the bad news and the good news in real, human language, not in business speak/jargon: I hate the phrase “re-engineering” and I know for a fact that everyone who has ever been on the receiving end of that activity hates it too. It is a word or concept that makes the perpetrators feel better– impersonal, so no real people are affected. People can handle the truth when it is plainly and clearly spoken.
When you do make good news, talk about it in real language too. Business-speak and jargon do not impress anyone. Prose that draws vivid pictures that people can imagine, and elicits emotion that people can feel will contribute immensely to the value of your speech to a business audience.
Create new and fresh approaches; don’t rely on “the way we always do things”: bad news is the best time to get out of your ruts and old habits. If you have a strongly hierarchical organization, shake it up. If you always use limited colors and corporate slide templates, get rid of them and speak from notes. If you limit your content to data, logic and strictly business examples, broaden your content to include human interest stories from the broad spectrum of people’s lives.