How to make presentations for Bad News

Presenting bad news to a group of people can be challenging for most presenters. However, sometimes it is required to present bad news where there is no room for good news. We can learn from some expert presenters who recommend tips about how to present bad news to an audience.

Sheri from Power Presentations recommends to give the challenging information in small chunks using short decisive sentences. This can help to separate each piece of information and immediately clarify the points to the audience. Also you can explain the reasons why this change was necessary and what will be the impact for them directly.

If you have some good news, you may mix good and bad news along your presentation. Instead of thinking what will be better, to present bad news or good news first or later, then you can use a mixed approach. Some bad news with other good news can mitigate the overall bad news feeling.

It may not be good to overly dramatic. If your sales team didn’t meet third quarter revenue projections and you need to share the results with the CEO, he may be disappointing about the results and evaluate you for your position. If you were asked to report on year-end numbers, don’t bring up layoffs and demotions and stick to the facts and leave your predictions out of it.

Find workarounds and propose alternatives to mitigate the negative effects of the bad news. Being proactive is a good thing, so make sure that you think before the presentation about what could be possible solutions to turn the page and improve the situation.

Here are some other tips that you may consider while communicating bad news to an audience.

  • Don’t just outline the problems – provide solutions
  • Be honest
  • Know your audience
  • Practice
  • Try to speak with the people before the presentation
  • Tell it straight

Being honest is a must in all the cases. Some presenters may want to show good information and positive reports to their audience, especially if important clients are in front of the presentation or the boss is in the auditorium but sometimes reporting bad news is necessary.

You can also use images and pictures in your PowerPoint presentations, but this kind of presentations may not be a good time to overwhelm the slides with lot of animations or transitions.

Communicating bad news can be challenging but it is not the end of the world. Keep your mind fresh before hand and be prepared for questions.