Delivering bad news is tough in any business. Whether it’s having to tell your vendors that you can no longer retain their services or informing an employee that he is being made redundant, or shutting down a project, often the “messenger” tasked with delivering the final blow would go to great lengths to delay or avoid the situation due to fear of confrontation, turning a bad situation into an even worse one.
Let’s face it – nobody wants to hear bad news. Disappointment, frustration and even anger come to mind. It’s certainly no mean feat when it comes to reconciling and managing orders from upper management with the interests of employees, vendors and clients.
So how can we avoid shooting the messenger? We share some tips on how you can deliver bad news (someone’s got to do it!) with grace and tact.
Make sure that you’re familiar with every piece of information before speaking to your target recipient (employee, colleague, client). More specifically, you need to understand the reasons why, who are the parties involved, and any other considerations in the lead up to the final decision. Don’t hesitate to ask for more information before delivering the bad news.
Time and Place
When you deliver bad news, be sure to do it in a private setting and at a time when he can hear the bad news. If it’s not urgent, don’t approach the person at a stressful time in the middle of a project. Be mindful of the setting, and switch off your phone and email alerts – avoid interruptions at all cost to put the person at ease.
Create a Buffer
Before communicating any bad news, always start with a buffer to reduce the shock or pain. An effective buffer helps the recipient to keep reading or listening, and essentially provides a smooth transition to the bad news proper.
- State the best news first
- Compliment the recipient
- Thank the recipient for his past contributions
- Listen to what the recipient has to say (shared viewpoint)
- State key facts of the case
- Express empathy (show concern)
People are more receptive to listening and accepting bad news when it’s delivered thoughtfully, sincerely and confidently. Body language is key. Make sure your body language conveys the right message in the right way and is in line with what you’re saying. Some examples of non-verbal cues include avoiding eye contact and fidgeting. These are sure to send the wrong signals. Also, do not sugarcoat and beat around the bush. Be direct and tactful, and most of all be kind.
No Time for Jokes
When bad news is being delivered, be considerate of the recipient’s feelings. Do not joke around as this may come across as being rude and insincere. While you may want to lighten the mood and reduce the impact of the news, always be respectful and sensitive.
Explain the Why’s
Research shows that people are more willing to accept bad news if they believe the decision-making process was reasonable. Therefore, provide them with ample reasons as to why the bad news is necessary and give them details about the decision-making process.
Show you Care
After delivering the news and explaining all the necessary information, give the individual some space to absorb the information and be ready to listen to his concerns. Ask him how he’s feeling. Do your best to be understanding and answer any questions as best as possible.
When closing, do it in a way that promotes goodwill and helps the individual or team move forward. You should provide your support and let them know you’re there for them. Instead of focusing on the “can’ts”, focus on the “cans”. Go a step further and suggest a compromise or alternative option based on what the individual wanted in the first place.
Posted by Chloe Tan, CorpMedia
When I first started working in this office 3 months ago, I barely understood what the term “public relations” meant. I had no background in communications and only had a slight idea it involved writing – eg, press releases and articles. I knew that unlike advertising, public relations isn’t “selling” anything.
So what is PR, exactly? According to Wikipedia, it is “the practice of managing the flow of information between an individual or an organization and the public”. Essentially, public relations is a management tool – for building credibility and allowing companies to evaluate public attitudes, identifying the public’s interest or concern. In times of crisis, PR is used to explain, defend, promote or reveal corporate policies to specific audiences so that these audiences can fully understand what the organisation has to say.
With the internet today, just like everything else – public relations is constantly evolving. Traditional media is being replaced in favour of social media, and why not? It really is having the world at your fingertips, provided your mobile data plan allows for it.
Advertising and public relations are both forms of communications. But there are several key differences between them.
|The company pays for ad space and time.||Coverage in media is not paid for.|
|Complete control of what goes into the ad.||Little or no control over your information is presented, if the media decides to use your info at all.|
|Since you pay for the space, you can run your ads over and over for as long as your budget allows.||You can only submit a press release about a new product/news conference once.|
|These days, consumers know when they’re reading an advertisement they’re trying to be sold a product or service.||When a consumer reads a third-party article written about your product or views coverage of your event on TV, they’re seeing something you didn’t pay for with ad dollars and view it differently than they do paid advertising.|
|Often appears less credible because viewers, readers and listeners are aware if it comes from an unbiased source.||Public relations-based publicity is usually more credible with an audience as it comes via independent media.|
Additionally, public relations costs less than advertising. PR involves a mix of promoting specific products, services and events, and promoting the overall brand of an organization, which is an ongoing task. Individual advertisements are sometimes based on a brand but are more often based on a specific promotional message such as a price cut or the launch of a new product.
Do you work in advertising or public relations? Let us know what you think – leave a comment!
By Natasha Samat, PR Associate @ Corporate Media Services
Advertising and public relations are important marketing tools; knowing the difference can help businesses reach their target market and achieve their objectives.
Advertising and public relations can be exceptionally good at reaching the masses and helping a brand or organisation get the word out. However, before you dive into any advertising or PR campaign, make sure you know enough of each industry’s strengths and weaknesses. Often times, these two industries, although entirely different, are commonly confused as being one and the same.
Considering all the time and energy that has gone into pitching everything under the sun from razor blades, washing detergent and even medical supplies, you would think someone would have answered the age-old question by now – Which is better, advertising or public relations? The answer is entirely dependent on what you want to achieve. Advertising and PR have decidedly different benefits, and each contributes differently to your company’s communication goals.
Some useful tips to help you which way to go:
1. Review your Budget: A large portion of the budget for an advertising campaign will be spent on ad space. Ad agencies also charge for concept development, copywriting and creative work such as graphic design, filming and editing. On the other hand, a PR agency works to gain free publicity for its client. A PR campaign budget usually goes towards the creation of a compelling story through media pitches, press releases and events and ongoing media liaison.
2. Creative Control: Ad space is paid for and with the help of an ad agency, companies can take the wheel to maintain full control of an ad’s content and exactly when and where it will appear. With public relations, once a media release or pitch is distributed, PR agencies are limited in the amount of control they have over the way media outlets use the information or if they choose to use it at all. Even the best media release can be bumped off for a bigger story. However, a PR professional can help you navigate through the white noise of news and get your story heard.
3. Media Exposure: Big budgets allow companies to run ads for as long as they wish. The downside is that seeing the same ad can become repetitive and ineffective, as consumers do not stand to gain any new information. A media release, on the other hand, can be distributed to many different media outlets. Although news has a relatively short shelf life, it is possible for a media release to sit an editor’s file until it can form part of a bigger story. The key takeaway is that consumers may see the same product or service in different context over a period of time.
4. Reaching your target audience: Consumers know when they’re reading an ad that they are being sold a product or service. It’s very rare for people to actively seek out ads unless they are looking for something in particular. From a PR standpoint, a story covered about a service or product carries more credibility. If presented correctly and in an informative medium, people are more likely to take notice of a company’s key messages, even if it’s only on a subconscious level.
5. Content Style: Advertising campaigns rely heavily on creativity, catchy slogans and eye catching graphics to attract consumers’ attention while PR campaigns require a nose for news. With a comprehensive understanding of the media, PR agencies exercise creativity by crafting captivating, factually correct stories that educate readers about a product, service or company.
Executing Your Campaign
Compared to advertising, public relations is a more subtle, disciplined approach with the aim of influencing public opinion and behaviour. It is the foundation that builds name recognition and brand trust. With it, future advertising can succeed to greater heights. Think of your promotional campaign as a pyramid:
Making that Sale!
Raising Brand Awareness
Advertising and Promotion Campaign
Public Relations Public Relations Public Relations
An advertising or public relations campaign doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. They can and should be used in conjunction with one another to help spread the word about your product or service further.
With proper planning and precise execution, you’ll have no problem in achieving sustained media presence, building credibility and making that sale!