Firing your child – what words to use

A May 5th article in the Economist, Manners of Speaking provides a technique to take the emotion out of bad news.

The issue with family business is that good decisions for the business can often impact family harmony. However, it can be made easier when it is communicated in a neutral manner rather than in a personal way. No one likes bad news.

The research in the article in the Economist describes how putting a phrase in noun structure is more neutral and less offensive than in a verb manner. For example, “I support layoffs for family members who don’t perform”  versus “I support laying off family members who are not performing”. They say the exact same thing, but the first is more abstract, while the first seems personal. For more information see the link below.

https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21741543-science-looks-subtleties-semiotics-how-change-emotions-word