Delivering Difficult Messages

full-day workshop tutorial

Practical workshop in learning to deliver difficult messages

Sometimes we have to tell someone something that is difficult for them to hear. It could be bad news for a manager about our project, or about the quality of the software we are testing. It could be uncomfortable feedback for someone who reports to you. Too often, the interaction doesn’t go as well as we’d like and we have to deal with adverse reactions ranging from disbelief to anger, as well as our own feelings. Delivering bad news well takes courage and skill, as does dealing with many of the recipient’s reactions. For most people, the ability to do these things at all—let alone well—does not come easily. In this tutorial, we will practice delivering difficult messages and addressing the fallout, building relevant skills and knowledge along the way. We will explore the factors that can inhibit us in delivering a message, as well as those that might influence a recipient’s reactions. Topics we’ll cover include: • Common pitfalls in delivering difficult messages, and how to avoid them • Questions to ask and things to do before we speak • Strategies, models and techniques that can help us understand and deal with difficult conversations successfully Delivering unwelcome news isn’t fun, but we can have fun exploring and practicing how to do it. This workshop tutorial will consist primarily of experiential exercises and debriefs. We will practice with real situations that have happened for real testers, including past or current problems brought by participants.

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