When someone asks you the question “Want to hear the good or the bad news first?” How will you answer?
According to Daniel Fink, author of the best-selling book “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” timing is everything, and it’s also valid for delivering the good or bad news.
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He admits that intuitively, working with people, he always thought the best approach was to deliver the good news first. He did not want to get nasty or aggressive, so he thought that telling the good news earlier would soften the inevitable blow of the bad once.
“But,” Fink said in an interview with the Washington Post, “it’s not true, the research tells us very clearly. If you ask people what they prefer, four out of five will say they prefer to hear the bad news first. The reason is related to suffixes. Given the choice, people prefer endings that rise. We prefer endings that go up, that are aimed up and not down.”
This explains why people like to watch movies or read books with a good and inspiring ending – one that makes them feel good. When we give feedback, we think, “Oh, this person can not want to hear the bad news first, even if I want it – I’m different and special.”
And therefore we act in ways that are different from our own preferences because we think others have other preferences. ”
So the next time you have good news and bad news to give to someone, you will not be mistaken if you start the bad news.
That’s exactly what most people want to hear, and you’re not doing anyone a favor in trying to soften the bad news by giving the favors first.