Tel: 0844 394 8877

Boulden Management Consultants

Leadership Capabilty  >  Half-Day Courses

Giving Bad News

Boulden Management Consultants

Appreciating how to communicate a negative message clearly, concisely and courteously

Half Day Course

Course Brochure Download
Giving Bad News brochure
  • Learn strategies for focusing on the future rather than dwelling on the present or past
  • Deal with obstacles and barriers to getting the message heard
  • Master the art of the ‘CIA speech’ to deliver bad news


This half-day management intensive workshop will dramatically improve your ability to deliver a negative message directly but humanely. This ‘bad news’ could take many forms ranging from having to tell an employee that they are to be made redundant; to explain that a delay has occurred on a project to; asking for a price rise from a customer, but whatever the specifics of the ‘difficult situation’ you will learn techniques to send clear messages that take into account the other persons’ point of view.

Learning objectives

By attending this highly interactive and practical half-day course you will:

  • Master powerful techniques for dealing with resistance to hearing the bad news
  • Discover a simple, yet elegant, process for planning to make your point
  • Acquire strategies to move the focus to future action
  • Learn how to separate the message from the messenger
  • Grasp some methods available to manage your own feelings

Who should attend the programme?

This course is ideal for experienced managers who want to have a refresher or ‘master class’ on transmitting bad news in the most palatable way possible. It is also relevant for all those new to management or leadership who want to grasp the essential elements of communicating negative messages clearly and compassionately.


The golden rules of giving bad news

Reviewing the theories, key concepts and principles involved in effectively transmitting a negative message to someone.

  • Why it is important to ‘grasp the nettle’ and give the message
  • Understanding the key principles
  • Being aware of the pitfalls

Exercise: brainstorming key concepts

Crafting your message

People take bad news relatively well when it is delivered clearly, concisely and in a way that takes their feelings and circumstances into account.

  • Fact finding questionnaire to gather your thoughts
  • Deciding the structure
  • Concise communication with the CIA speech
  • Developing support materials

Exercise: writing a CIA speech

Staying calm

How to be deal with your own emotions as the ‘giver’ of bad news.

  • Understanding emotions
  • The future pacing technique to rehearse dealing with difficult situations
  • The bulletproof glass technique to handle criticism

Exercise: practising the future pacing technique

Helping the recipient stay focused

Understanding tools for helping the recipient of the bad news absorb the message.

  • Establishing ‘positional anchors’ to separate the message from the messenger
  • The ‘future orientation’ strategy to help the person take the initiative

Exercise: handling questions with the ‘future orientation’ strategy

Dealing with negative reactions

Understanding common adverse reactions to getting bad news and appreciating how to handle them

  • Common adverse reactions to bad news
  • Three step assertive technique
  • Fogging technique
  • Broken record technique

Exercise: practising the three step technique

Delivering your message

  • The 'bad news' meeting process
  • Practise at running bad news meetings

Exercise: role-playing giving bad news



Feedback is based upon peer review using Boulden assessment checklists. Completing the assessment checklists is not only valuable to the people involved in a given role play or case study, it also helps those completing them to gain an in-depth understanding of the building blocks that make up the strategies involved in giving bad news.

Remote Training

All of our workshops can be delivered as Remote Training via e-learning modules plus Zoom based virtual workshops. Please see our Virtual Training page for more information.


Further information on this course is available by contacting
Boulden Management Consultants:
via our Contact form
Tel: 0844 394 8877