1. Keep it private. Discharge employees in closed-door meetings. Have a witness there (such as an HR rep), but don't invite others who have no reason to be there.
2. Cut the drama. Never play Donald, hollering "You're fired!" in front of others. If you must escort an employee from the premises, don't call attention to it by marching him or her through a busy office. And don't discuss your termination reasons with other employees, simply say, "John won't be working with us anymore."
3. Let the employee vent. If you've been documenting performance correctly, firings should rarely take employees by surprise. Still, briefly summarize the reasons behind the decision. Then, allow employees to have their say, and even vent a little emotion, without being interrupted.
4. Leave the employee with something positive. If possible, have the employee's final paycheck ready so the person has something good to take from the meeting.