How often are we asked “I have good news and bad news: which one do you want first?”. Whose decision is it to define news as either good or bad? How about we simply say: “I have news. Would you like to hear it?”
What’s good for one person, may be (it often is) bad for another:
“YES! Great news: my team has won the championship!”. I know, you team beat mine. Good for you, bad for me.
“Woohoo, I got a new job!”. I know, that means all of the other candidates didn’t. But hey, maybe one of those candidates ended up landing an even better job. Better for whom?
“Sir, you arrived too late. The gate is already closed and you can’t board flight 123.”
“What? << insert an endless list of bad words and insults here >>”. Bad news?
Thirty minutes later: “Breaking News: flight 123 has crashed, claiming the lives of all people on board”
Bad News (“can’t get on the plane“) turned to Good News (“I didn’t die!”) for Mr. Dirtymouth?
Good News (“we boarded”) turned to Bad News (“we died”) for all passengers who got on the plane?
Relaying news to others without loading it with our personal bias is a very hard thing to do. Our choice of words, the intonation, the emphasis, the body language, the facial expression… all of those things can influence howa person receives and perceives the news. As if our constant struggle with the story we tell ourselveswasn’t hard enough.
Learning to take a step back and separate facts from interpretation and judgment requires a constant deliberate practice.
Is that good or bad news? We’ll see (yet another great post by Sivers).