Archive for August 25, 2007

How To Minimize The Shock And Depression When Delivering Tragic News?

August 25, 2007

Life is filled with unexpected events. When these events comes with a negative twist, they shock us and render us out of sorts. If tragic situations occur, people panic and often fall into emotional despair. That sudden strike of desperation drives people to their mental edge. Without proper communication, relation and support, breakdown soon sets in.

In my training and coaching sessions, I often work with coaches, counselors, consultants, trainers and speakers (CCCTS) on how to handle such circumstances in their own professional duties. These raw emotions and incidents do break out from time to time and may even catch the help-givers off guard. Being prepared and being vigilant is definitely a requirement not to be undermined.

When the tragic news are brought out into the open, it is our job to assist the person to accept the facts better. We should also further guide them to eventually self-manage their emotions and resources as far as realistically possible.

As there are different types of news with varying levels of shock and severity, there are, correspondingly, several steps we can employ to break the news to them. These steps are called Delivery Tracks. They form a series of steps or tracks when news are delivered in order to be as positive as possible to the affected persons.

The following delivery track is one of the method. It is generic in nature and can be slightly revised to fit the response of the affected.

A standard pre-requisite is that the news must be delivered by a strong minded person with positive outlook. The more tragic the news is the tougher his mental dexterity and rationality is. Yet the irony is that he or she must also be gifted with an empathic touch to the affected person.

The recommended Delivery Track or steps are as follows:

Step 1: Sound the person out, making sure the person is in sound and rational mind.

Step 2: State or hint beforehand that the news might be something uncomfortable or uneasy for him or her to bear. The aim is to get the person mentally and emotionally prepared for the news.

Step 3: Start from the peripheral setting/circumstance before going to the core incident. This allows the person to understand the progress of event, hence enabling the tragedy more understandable as a result of consequential comprehension. (ie, the ability to understand and appreciate how things happen.)

Step 4: As you deliver the news, remember to tone down the words but not missing out on the facts. It’s a very fine balance at this point. Here, your communication and counseling skills will be put to test.

Step 5: Check the acceptance level of the person before revealing the issue bit by bit. You have to be well-equipped with people reading skills, allowing you to calibrate and match the other party.

Step 6: Offer a better and positive way of looking at things whenever possible. I would like to say all the time, however, not every can think of a new refreshing perspective just off the cuff.

Step 7: Round up the news delivery by committing to be there for the person. Present any solutions or support you may have and catering to the person’s needs. And you must mean what you say.

Step 8: Offer the person an opportunity to be counseled or coached after the deliver of message and news.

Step 9: Follow up regularly to ensure acceptance rate and availability of social support.

While it’s always hoped that tragedies will never happen, the life truth is often one of eventuality than possibility. Our social coping strategies must always be sound and catered for the affected party.

The solace and comfort we can take is that with every challenges, setback and obstacles we brave in life, we grow in strength and in character. This makes us so much more apt and equipped to excel beyond excellence.