MINNEAPOLIS, June 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Executive Speaking, LLC, a global communications coaching company that has served C-suite executives since 1979, is offering leaders insight on how best to communicate bad financial news.
“Of course, you could just show the charts,” said Anett Grant, CEO of Executive Speaking, who has coached leaders from 61 of the Fortune 100 companies for 40+ years. “But I urge you to think about how you want your audience to feel. You have to recognize that emotions drive actions.”
Grant notes that in the book How Emotions Drive Actions, author Leonard Mlodinow explains that “just as the iPhone adjusts its programming when in a lower power mode, our brain can run in various modes…an anxious state leads to a pessimistic cognitive bias.”
Accordingly, Grant explains that unless they want to leave their audience with a message of gloom that makes them feel depressed and stuck in the mud, leaders need to think about communicating bad financial news in terms of feelings. Specifically, she recommends using the four Cs:
Calm. “When leaders have bad news, they might feel pressure and start speaking faster or they might slow down and punctuate their speaking with long pauses, ‘ahs’ and ‘urs’,” said Grant. “When they have bad numbers, they need to develop an awareness of their kneejerk response and intentionally speak calmly.”
Concise. “Leaders are often inclined to begin by setting the stage, giving the context and background before telling the numbers,” said Grant. “This approach is particularly problematic with poor financials because they’ll come across as lecturing or defensive. They’ll be much more effective if they get to the point quickly and clearly. By communicating the bad news upfront, and then providing concise analysis, they’re demonstrating leadership moving forward, not apologies going backward.”
Conversational. “Leaders might be tempted to speak in an official tone, as if they were writing out loud, or load up on jargon – couching their analysis in descriptions of the weather like ‘headwinds’ and ‘perfect storms,'” said Grant. “But they have to resist that temptation. They need to speak openly, with candor, as if they were talking to a trusted friend with simple, straightforward language. This communicates the feeling of trust.”
Confidence. “Leaders might want to focus on explaining the why, which is really focusing their audience backwards,” said Grant. “To project confidence, they need to focus forward. They should communicate the feeling of optimism because they want their audience to feel energized, not demoralized. It’s about being a leader of the future, not an apologist for the past.”
For more insight on how to communicate bad financial news, contact Anett Grant at [email protected] or 612-760-3002.
About Executive Speaking, Inc.
Founded in 1979, Executive Speaking, Inc. is a global communications coaching company that has coached leaders from 61 of the Fortune 100 companies, from entrepreneurs to Fortune 50 CEOs. They deliver a concentrated, customized coaching experience to help leaders excel in high-stakes communications, such as board presentations, investor pitches, media appearances, and more. Learn more at https://www.executivespeaking.net/.
SOURCE Anett Grant