JP Rule #10: Never Deliver Bad News Via E-mail or IM. Never.

by Joanna Pineda Posted on June 20, 2012

Just as our moms and Miss Manners tell us to never to break up with someone via email or Facebook, I tell my Project Managers to never, ever deliver bad news to clients or staff via e-mail or instant messenger (IM).

Delivering bad news via email or IM is just plain bad business so why do people do it? They do it because they’re pressed for time. Or they don’t want to face the client and answer tough questions. Or they’re clueless and think sending an email will fix the problem. Or they don’t know how to deliver the bad news and negotiate a solution. Here’s what I tell my team:

I have actually found that it’s our ability to turn around a mistake or a bad situation that cements our client relationships. If we have bad news, it’s an opportunity to explain how we got there and what we’re going to do to make the situation better. This can never, ever be done via email or IM.

How about you? Have you ever received bad news via email or IM? What did you do?

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