Geoffrey Stackhouse, Managing Director, Clarity Solutions
I wasn’t planning on going here this week, but this quote is so inappropriate, and is dominating today’s media in Sydney, that I had to call it out.
It’s even worse because it’s from a really tragic story about a missing child.
"The experts cannot substantiate that survival in the bush would be there at this point in time," he said.
The spokesperson has to break the sad news that police have given up hope for the child’s survival. But there are better ways to do it.
Difficult subject matter is never a justification for poor communication. Such a sensitive topic calls for empathy and compassion, as well as a crystal clear insight from the Police so they don’t leave us guessing.
There are many ways this statement could have been framed and presented – most of them more appropriate than this line. When you have to break bad news remember:
1. Show you understand the hurt and the pain, and that it touches you.
2. Be succinct and explicit so you don’t leave room for guesswork or interpretation.
3. Ignore the camera and imagine you are talking directly to the people affected.
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