The speech lasted 20 minutes.
It delivered everything I feared.
And the opposite of what I desired.
She told me my family had to stay out of my house.
I could forget lunches or coffees out.
Cinemas would close, along with gyms.
And travel to my seaside golf course was banned by law.
How did I react?
I felt the First Minister deserved a round of applause.
Having delivered a masterclass in how to break bad news well.
Nicola Sturgeon’s communication skills have been recognised around the world.
And regularly in this blog, too.
But it takes something special to deliver bad news and still win plaudits.
Here’s how she did it.
Broken down into five principles.
First, she set out the facts.
The “stubbornly high” cases of Covid, despite local restrictions.
Rising numbers in Central Scotland.
Falling numbers in other parts.
The NHS’s capacity to cope in populated areas now under threat.
So time to step up sanctions where needed.
The case was delivered without sugar-coating.
Just what needed to be done.
And when the numbers quoted were alarming, adjectives were unnecessary.
It was the opposite of spin.
The goal was to take the medicine now.
To allow families to meet at Christmas.
Vaccines are coming.
But action now means the country is ready and healthier when they arrive in the Spring.
Almost every word of the roughly 10,000 she spoke was positive, despite the situation.
She concentrated on what had happened.
As well as what was happening, and what would happen.
Rather than what wasn’t happening.
Her acknowledgement of what this meant to restaurants, small shops, hairdressers and people’s liberties was sincere.
At one point, showing her vulnerability, she said how much she ‘hated’ making these announcements.
And I believed her.
She concluded by saying how sorry she was to increase restrictions.
How necessary they were to save lives and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.
And how we could all look forward to vaccines and testing leading us back to normality.
We call it the Three Rs.
Regret – Reason – Remedy.
There’s another blog on it here.
And it’s necessary to use when people are upset or frustrated.
Many of us will need to learn how to break bad news in the months ahead.
To colleagues and suppliers and to family and friends.
So follow these five steps:
People may dislike what you’re saying.
But they’ll find it very difficult to fault your handling of the situation.
It’s how to break bad news well.
And it’s part of what you’ll learn in the Pink Elephant Academy Media Masterclass.
Bill McFarlan is co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.
You can read his full profile here.
Photos in How to break bad news blog by Scottish Government / CC BY-NC / on Foter.com.
Headline How to break bad news photo by Pink Elephant Communications.
How to break bad news blog edited by Colin Stone.
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