You have a difficult message to deliver to one of your team. This may be about a performance issue or indeed what we discuss here could apply to any difficult message we need to deliver to someone.

The message itself might take 1 minute or less to deliver. But before you get to that 1 minute delivery you spend a huge amount of time thinking about it – you pore over what you will say and how you will say it. You rehearse the words you will use (even though you know you always change these when you are speaking!). You stress about their potential reactions. You second guess what those reactions will be. You make a series of assumptions about what they will think and assumptions about why they will think that. Sound familiar?

Delivering a difficult message can be …… well “difficult” to do for many people. So just a thought on this. Before you tie yourself up in knots and worry about WHAT you will say and HOW to deliver the message and how the person may react, maybe stop and think about WHY you are delivering this message in the first place.

Your Intention

This sounds like a “protective father to prospective son-in-law moment” – what are your intentions? !!! Run for the hills.

Anyways – getting back to delivering your message – what is your real intention in delivering this message? Is there a positive intent for this message?

Perhaps the message, whilst difficult, may ultimately be aimed at helping the person to grow in some way and what you have to tell them may be getting in their way.

By delivering this message you may be living up to values of honesty and transparency that are important to you and your team.

You may hold a value of genuinely caring for people and know that you are the best person to share this information so your intent may be to be there for them as they take in that message.

Delivering this message may be standing up for yourself or for what you see as right and your intent may be to influence the person to consider their actions in future.

By asking yourself WHY you are delivering this message it can prompt you to reflect on what you are doing.

  • You may discover that your intent may not be as positive as you might have initially thought and this can prevent us from a knee-jerk reaction to something!

  • You may decide to change the message – WHAT you will say or HOW you will deliver it to ensure it lands the way it is intended. Or, you may decide that it is not really important after all and you want to prioritise something else in your conversation!

So 2 steps to consider as you prepare to share some important information or observation that you perceive as difficult.

  1. Review your intent – check you are in the right space.

  2. Share your intent with the person from the start – this will pave the way for them to better take in the message.


It’s just another small step in making your conversations engaging and impactful so that you can build people, build performance and build results.

Keep on building