Good News or Bad News?


GoodNews BadNews


How can you create a positive experience for someone else?

Mess with their expectations.

I write this to you from 33,000 feet, after departing Orlando to head back home to the Hartford airport.

Just before we took off, the lead flight attendant got on the PA system:

Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news.

My mind raced ahead to fill in the blanks.

My internal dialogue went like this:

I know this.  This is the old good news/bad news script.  I’ve heard this before, and I know where this is going: Delays.  Weather, air traffic control, equipment malfunction, something.   

He continues: The good news is that this is a relatively short flight, only about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

I think:  This is a delay for sure. 

The worry starts to creep in.

If we’re on time, I’m home at 9 pm.  What if we can’t get home tonight?  What’s my Plan B?

I work to let go of the worry; there’s nothing I can do to change this.

Just accept the fact this has the makings of a late evening.

The flight attendant continues:

The Bad News

I swallow my expectations down with the lump in my throat.

Some of the inflight movies are longer than 2 hours and 15 minutes, so we’re going to make them free for the flight. We’d hate for you to pay six bucks and not be able to watch the end of your movie.  We’ll begin the inflight entertainment right after we take off.

The entire plane starts clapping.  I hear some whistles 3 rows behind me.

I breathe a big sigh of relief, and an unsolicited smile breaks across my face.

The flight attendant could have shared the information about the movies in numerous ways.

But he was smart.

By playing off a typical script (good news/bad news) he was able frame my expectations around a familiar story.  But rather than go down the usual path, he delivered a (surprise!) happy ending.

How have you used a familiar story with a reframe/twist to create a positive experience for someone else?


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