If you have to deliver bad news, follow this advice shared with my sister long ago: create a visual with the undesirable message and direct your participants’ attention to it as you present. The goal is to have their memory of the unpleasantness associated with something other than you!

The visual doesn’t have to be fancy or formal: it can be budget figures written on a whiteboard, a new structure drawn out on a flip chart or a PowerPoint slide that outlines the changes – anything that focuses the attention “over there” instead of on you personally. It’s a small thing but over time you don’t want the image of your face popping into your team’s head when remembering bad news.

Separate the message from you personally by diverting their attention to “there.”

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