Had to make an unpleasant call today with a vendor who we are no longer going to use for a chamber benefit program. I have a good relationship with them, so I wasn't looking forward to the discussion, but knew I would feel better if I got it over with and didn't drag it out. It went fine. No hard feelings. We will still work together on other projects.
Joining Dots has this post about how to have difficult conversations. I especially appreciate the tip on what not to do:
Avoid the 'sugar coated spit ball' approach where you are supposed to start with something nice before delivering the bad news. People will start putting on the armour whenever you start a conversation with something nice... Nice things should be part of every day conversations, not saved up for when you need to deliver some bad news! Are you paying a sincere compliment, or doing textbook 'good news - bad news'?
I always prefer to have the bad news delivered first. That way you can end the conversation with good news, if there really is some to share.