On bad news.

I am in the breaking-bad-news business lately. what is the best way to bring up sad or uncomfortable news that minimizes shock and judgment and maximizes patience and understanding?

Hmm… are you firing people, or is this a “you might want to get yourself tested” type situation?

In either case, just get it over with. Be respectful. Be brief. Be direct. Make sure it’s private. Don’t corner anyone with the bad news. If you’re going to ruin someone’s day, at least give them access to the door.

Say what you gotta say, and then shut the fuck up. Allow for reaction. Allow them to process for a moment. Be compassionate, but remain as unemotional as possible. Let them be the ones to broach the silence.

Answer questions in as few words as possible. Don’t ramble, and don’t drag it out. If you’ve said what you need to say and all questions have been answered, end the conversation.

Good luck.


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