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  • Are your conversations achieving what you want?
    Are your conversations achieving what you want?
  • Can you allow discussion and still keep control?
    Can you allow discussion and still keep control?
  • Are you getting the best out of your people?
    Are you getting the best out of your people?
  • Do you frequently get into arguments?
    Do you frequently get into arguments?
  • How are you coming across to your boss?
    How are you coming across to your boss?
  • Does your feedback help people change?
    Does your feedback help people change?

Might your need to be better at breaking bad news
be met by this London UK management training course
called Skills with People?

Yes if you agree with any of the following 

  • What makes me afraid of breaking bad news is that I don't know how people will react.
  • I'm afraid they'll react emotionally and I won't know how to handle it.
  • Unfortunately breaking bad news is something I have to do from time to time, but I dread it.
  • Alternative scenario - Breaking bad news doesn't bother me. It's not my responsibility to feather-bed people. They should take it rationally. Sometimes you have to be tough.

What you'll take away from this course

It'll help you develop the understanding and skill you need for calming people down in situations where they're likely to be alarmed and make irrational decisions - like when breaking bad news. Of course this won't make it easy to break bad news, but it make it easier, because you'll be able to influence how rational people are when they receive it.

Free exploratory coaching session

INTERESTED?

If so, you can have a FREE exploratory coaching session. It'll give you a foretaste of what you can get from the course. You make no commitment to proceed beyond this until you're sure this training is relevant to your own particular need.

How to accept this offer

Simply contact us for a preliminary chat and to arrange your free exploratory coaching session. 

What this session will do for you

In this session we'll aim to give you something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work. All you need do to prepare for this session is think about the kinds of situations you want to be able to handle more successfully.

FAQs

You'll find answers to many of your questions about the content and method of this course under FAQs (in the main menu above).

How the skills you'll practise on this course
will make you more confident and helpful
when you're breaking bad news

Here's a  example of someone who became much more successful at his job as a result of learning how to turn people's negative emotional reaction to receiving bad news into a much more open-minded and receptive response.

Frank was a customer service engineer working for a software company. The software he'd been supporting had just been replaced by a superior product from the software development department. It was his job to break the news to customers and hold their hands in the transition to the upgrade. The trouble was it wasn't all good news. Not only were customers going to have to pay more. They were also going to have to change working practices in order to benefit from the added functionality of the new software. On both counts he expected a strong negative reaction from some of his customers.

What he'd learned about breaking bad news

One of the main things he'd learned on our course was that negative reactions to bad news are a perfectly normal human response. But if instead of trying to reason with them you can be more patient, show more understanding of what it feels like to be in their shoes, and encourage them to let off steam, they'll soon calm down and become much more receptive. To achieve this he had to master the skill of listening with empathy

How he used what he'd learned

Taking each of his customer companies in turn, he arranged a meeting on the customer's premises to which he invited the key people in the company who would be affected by the change. His purpose was to break the news about the change and win their acceptance of it.

Here's how he ran the meeting:

  • "Thanks for coming to this meeting. My purpose is to break some news to you about a significant change we've made in the software you're using. I realise this is going to have practical implications and ring some alarm bells, and that you'll have serious questions and concerns about it. I'll do my best explain the changes and their benefits, and also to satisfy you on all your concerns.
  • "What I invite you to do in this meeting is - as soon as a concern or question comes into your mind, call it out. Please don't sit there nursing it. I'll respond by first making sure I understand it and then writing it on this flip chart, and it won't be crossed off until you're satisfied with the answer. So please interrupt me."
  • Someone at the meeting shouted out, "It's been a hell of a job getting on top the software we're using now. It may not be perfect, but surely, better the devil you know!"
  • Instead of rushing to answer this, Frank thoughtfully reflected back what he deduced was the concern behind this apparently negative comment: "You're saying it's a major headache everytime you have to convert to new software. So you'll obviously need to be convinced it's really necessary and worthwhile before you'll agree to it." 
  • "Exactly!" said the person who made the comment, sounding surprised at being taken so seriously and understood so well.
  • Frank wrote,"Item 1. Is an upgrade necessary and worthwhile?", on the flip chart. Then he said, "Thank you for this. I'll do my best to convince you, but first let's have some more questions and concerns on our list?"

Already the atmosphere was warming up. Because Frank was showing he was taking them seriously, lots more questions and concerns followed, and because he received each one with respect and understanding his customers relaxed and their confidence in him kept growing,   even before they'd heard any of his answers. The more understood they felt the more they trusted him. He took care not to start trying to answer any of the questions on the flip chart until they'd had a chance to get their feelings off their chest. By the time he was ready to start giving answers to the questions on the flip chart the atmosphere at the meeting had become very receptive.  

Is there more information on this website
relevant to breaking bad news?

Yes. You might also find our pages on influence and persuasion and  emotional intelligence relevant and helpful.

We love helping you communicate successfully

By giving you communication skills that'll transform even your most challenging relationships and interactions.

That's the purpose of Skills with People, our training course for managers and professional people at all levels. Thousands have benefited from this course.

Video Introduction

What People Have Said About The Course

Project Quality Engineer (self funding)

A lesson for life! The power of effective communication is incredible when one masters the skills "listen with empathy" / "speak assertively". Defin ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - Chairman of White Clarke Group

He has greatly improved his ability to manage a situation. He listens more and uses that information to convince. A good example is the .... group, wh ...

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Learning & Development Coordinator - The Entertainer

I can't recommend this course enough. It has genuinely been the most impactful course I have ever completed. Understanding that I can be assertive w ...

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Sports Centre Manager

I feel that my relationship with other attendees has improved massively following the session. I'd say 9/10 for what I've got from the course as I sa ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson finance director

He has made excellent progress in the management of his team. He has ensured key stakeholders are involved in decision-making and has gone to great le ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Prudential director

He is a lot more confident. At the last meeting of our business unit leaders he fully led the meeting and dealt with people very well.

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National Training Index* report on the course

"From delegates reports we have identified Skills with People is a 'highspot' among UK business courses. Delegates mentioned as most helpful the enha ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - A Philips Semiconductors director

To what extend do I think his training need has been satisfied? Completely. I have been approached by 4 peers to tell me that they could see a very po ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Billiton director

He's obviously making a positive effort and it does show. People used to be scared of him. No longer.

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Golf Club Manager

Ten out of ten for the course for me personally. I think I would have resigned if it hadn't been for the course.

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Senior Engineer, Qualcomm

An unbelievable experience, highly motivating training and one of the few which stays forever in your mind. A tangible impact to your life and workin ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Merck Sharp & Dohme medical director

She feels more confident in tackling people and has been impressed with her new found techniques, e.g., in dealing with members of the marketing depar ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Glaxo SmithKline research director

He has made good progress in two areas: 1. team leadership - he listens with empathy to others well and considers their standpoint as well as his own. ...

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EHS advisor (environmental health and safety), Johnson Matthey

This is the best non-techincal course the company has ever put me on because it's the most useful. 

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The wife of a participant

"Just thinking about last night’s conversation and it’s bringing tears to my eyes – it’s what I’ve always wanted: to be able to talk with you like tha ...

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Leisure Centre Manager

The most useful part of the course was learning how to convey my disappointment with a member of staff without demotivating them, without making them ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Shell International senior manager

He is showing far more self-awareness and more restraint in potentially confrontational situations. He is far more aware of the impact his actions and ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a WS Atkins director

Now he actively listens, probes, asks for clarifications and does not assume anymore he knows the answer.

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Theatre Manager

Managing to confront them but still maintain their cooperation and support. Previously I was either not confronting or confronting and ending up with ...

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Fundraising Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

A very intimate training which will make anyone reflect on how best to engage with colleagues when confronted with difficult situations.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson Matthey Catalysts (Germany) senior manager

There has been a noticeable improvement in the performance of this customer service engineer. He is much more succinct now than he was before. He was ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - head of projects in Heinz

He now gains support through his willingness to involve people more and take them with him.

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Senior Resource Consultant, Shell International

“Skills with People” has helped me deal with conflict situations.  It has helped me to diffuse tension in meetings and convert pushback into alignment ...

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Thank you from a participant

I wanted to let you know that I have secured a new role.  I had to go through an assessment centre and one challenge was to negotiate with a 'belliger ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson marketing director

She has become increasingly aware and focussed on ensuring she is gaining cooperation from colleagues by the way she approaches situations. E.g., Meet ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - an HSBC investment director

I have had three unprompted comments from different team members and colleagues who have been surprised at the consideration he has shown in helping s ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Kimberley-Clark marketing director

He is now aware of his need to control his direct approach. He was sometimes too assertive. I think he is now well balanced in this respect.

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Workshop Manager, Professional Plant Services

I now find it easier to have awkward conversations. (As a result of how he has changed several more people from his company are asking to attend the c ...

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Examples of Training Needs Met

Technically very sound but lacking persuasive skills Read More...
Had a positive attitude but gave a negative impression Read More...
Being more assertive would help career go better Read More...
Difficulty communicating with non-technical people Read More...
Enormous enthusiasm but little sensitivity Read More...
Lots of energy and ideas but little attention for his clients Read More...
Respected specialist who was too quiet at meetings Read More...
Forceful communicator who created friction Read More...
Very diligent but hated dealing with difficult people Read More...
Very logical but not creating enough rapport Read More...
Well intentioned but demoralising his team Read More...
Allowed his meetings to get out of hand Read More...
Preparing for a more challenging role Read More...
Flying high but creating a tense atmosphere Read More...
Not delegating or developing others Read More...

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