Just give it to me straight, doc
IF you’re delivering some bad news, it’s best not to beat about the bush.
Research shows that when receiving upsetting information, we prefer directness, candour and little or no buffer.
In the US study, participants were offered varied forms of textual and verbal bad news.
The authors found that if someone was receiving bad news about a social relation- ship, such as “I’m breaking up with you”, they valued directness over a long lead-in.
Co-author Professor Alan Manning, of Brigham Young University in Utah, said: “An immediate ‘I’m breaking up with you’ might be too direct.
“But all you need is a ‘we need to talk’ buffer — just a couple of seconds for the person to process that bad news is coming.”
When it comes to receiving negative information about facts, such as “you’re dying”, most people want it immediately.
In the trial, 145 volunteers received a range of bad-news scenarios, and with each they were given two deliveries.
The research, published in the proceedings of the International Professional Communication Conference 2017, found that participants mostly valued clarity and directness.