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The easiest way to define this kind of messages is to think of them as the bad news.

These bad news: are highly negative, extremely

sensitive, incredibly consequential, or maddeningly complex.

Delivering difficult messages is part of day-to-day life in all social groups, whether the organization is a family, a nation or a business.

1.Mouthpeace Consulting LLC. Communicating Difficult Messages. Retrieved November 9, 2012, 2.Engels, J. J. (2007). Delivering Difficult Messages. Journal Of Accountancy, 204(1), 50-52

The delivery of a message can make the difference between a disaster or something that can be perceived as worth dealing with further, if it is transmitted in a appropriate manner;

The delivery is in the hands of one person; this person is central in accomplishing the task in a successful manner; Who is this person?
It depends on the environment in which the message applies to: public or private.

In the public sector, things are a little bit complicated, as it depends on the complexity and the scale of the announcement: it can vary from the President of the country, to Prime-minister or different ministers or spokesmen of different councils in relation with the situation created;
In the private sector, situation is different and easier to approach to some extent: mangers are the one supposed to transmit the difficult messages to the employees. Sometimes it can be required that the President or the CEO to communicate directly to the people, depending on the magnitude of the problem.

There are 2 major possibilities to deliver the message: I. Face to Face II. In writing

Why Face to Face?

The audience reactions can easily be observed and accurately reflects if the message was transmitted properly or not; All the possible misunderstands can be easily avoided by responding immediately to the raised questions.

Why not in Writing? It can appear as the most convenient method, but the risk of misunderstand or misinterpretation the message is extremely high.

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

There are 3 major stages important to be followed when delivering a difficult message: 1. Gaining clarity about the message. 2. Overruling avoidance with courage. 3. Executing the message.

1. 2.Engels, J. J. (2007). Delivering Difficult Messages. Journal Of Accountancy, 204(1), 50-52