bad news

Mentioning bad things isn’t necessarily being negative

Business owners and managers often suffer from a common allergy. When they review copy for a website, blog post, or newsletter and see wording they perceive as negative, they break out in hives. That could be understandable. We’ve long been urged to accentuate the positive and emphasize the good things. Mentioning something that’s negative is … Read more


Sometimes, businesses have to deliver bad news to customers. That’s a fact of life, but it’s rarely easy to do. In most cases, the best way to do it is just that — do it, get it done, and move on. If the business relationship is solid, it will withstand one instance of bad news.

Not long ago, a service provider with whom I’ve worked for well over a decade decided that it was just too tough to share some bad news. As a result, they damaged their working relationship with me, and I’m willing to wager they’ve done the same with other clients.

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You didn’t see it? It’s right there. Right over there. You have to be able to see it! For criminy sakes, it’s an elephant! It’s huge! Are you telling me that I’m the only one who sees it? No, I’m the only one who’s willing to admit that it’s there.

You’ve probably heard the “elephant in the room” expression used before. Typically it comes up when the family is gathered for a special event, and everyone pretends that they don’t notice that Uncle Leonard is snockered again, or that Cousin Louise is wailing loudly in the corner. There are those nervous glances at one another, but if we all keep pretending, maybe nobody else will notice, either.

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