Towards the end of each episode of the Clear+Vivid podcast, Alan Alda asks his guests 7 questions that bring out their views on communication, empathy and connection.
One of them grates on me… How do you like to deliver bad news? In person? On the phone? Or by carrier pigeon?
I suppose its because I’ve had to deliver bad news often. Both as part of business escalations and the personal kind that blindsides you on a random Wednesday afternoon.
A lot of the guests start with it depends on how bad the news is. And then, carrier pigeon would be nice, but in person is best for the big stuff.
Thinking of escalations, for me its about getting it out into the open so you can problem solve and move forward. Liking how YOU do it doesn’t really factor into it. Its about the receiver. In fact, detached compassion gets you a lot further.
And though sometimes you need to give people a moment to catch their breath, the sooner you can get to next steps the better.
So for me… definitely not carrier pigeon. It would take to long.
The reality of being connected all over the world is that sometimes we aren’t nearby. The point is to be “present” with the person receiving the news, regardless of the technology you use.
So yes, in person is the best. If you have the luxury.