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Alex Hillman Podcasts Episode 14: Breaking Bad News

In episode 14, Adam Teterus joins Alex Hillman to celebrate Indy Hall’s ninth year anniversary.

In three months prior to this episode, Indy Hall’s membership had unprecedented growth during the usually slow summer months.  With new members comes more diversity. Unfortunately, as they moved towards their 10th anniversary, Indy Hall faced one of their biggest challenges — a significant rent, around 70%.

Breaking Bad News

There is a way of laying news that does not make the situation smaller than it is, but guides people through the process of dealing with a change being inflicted upon them.  In Indy Hall’s case, the news was going to change the future of hundreds of people who are a part of Indy Hall. They had over 300 active members and businesses along with the relationships they have built.

When you come into news as big as this, you have to get the community involved since it is affecting all of them.  Trying to hide it would cause a lot of internal stress. You cannot really anticipate how other people will react and feel.  Therefore, you should focus on getting yourself to a place of comfort within the situation. If you put out positivity and optimism, that is what you get back.

Finding Balance

There is a balance between telling the community what is going to happen and getting feedback.  If you simply give out orders people may feel as if they have no say. If you do not allow room for input someone might feel slighted by a choice or direction.  It is important that you know what they care about. However, do not leave options pertaining to the situation wide open. Too much input can incite chaos.

Try using a sense of reasonable urgency.  Keep your head on your shoulders but act with some haste.  Create a time and space for people to come and ask questions while making sure everyone knows how important it is.  Urgency is not the same as panic.

Two Main Steps

Step One: Define the facts.  

  • Facts are precisely what is happening.  Layout what you do not know and what you are trying to find out.

Step Two: Anticipate the questions that people are going to have about the situation and how it is being handled.


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