Nobody wants to receive bad news, but when they must they prefer receiving it straight, without much buffer, suggests new research.
According to Study:
- So when it comes to delivering bad news, one should speak direct and not beat around the bush.
- As most people prefer directness and candour when they must hear something unpleasant.
- If we’re negating physical facts, then there’s no buffer required or desired.
- For example, “if your house is on fire, you just want to know that and get out.
- Or if you have cancer, you’d just like to know that.
- You don’t want the doctor to talk around it.
- For the study, 145 study participants received a range of bad-news scenarios, and with each scenario they were given two potential deliveries.
- For each received message, they ranked how clear, considerate, direct, efficient, honest, specific and reasonable they perceived it to be.
- They also ranked which of those characteristics they valued most.
- The researchers found that if someone is delivering bad news about a social relationship – think “I’m breaking up with you” or “I’m sorry, you’re fired,” one might prefer they ease into it with the tiniest of buffers.
- However, an immediate ‘I’m breaking up with you’ might be too direct.
- In addition,”all you need is a ‘we need to talk’ buffer — just a couple of seconds for the other person to process that bad news is coming.”
- Participants, for the most part, valued clarity and directness over other characteristics, the researchers noted.
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