Workshop Description

To get things accomplished, it is often necessary to convey difficult information to others. Our work lives can be end up being full of conversations we would rather not have – or try to avoid – including presenting data and disappointing results to peers or bosses, or providing feedback about poor performance and unpleasant behavior to colleagues or direct reports. However, these conversations are usually the ones that lead to true organizational effectiveness and transformation.   
Attend “Delivering Difficult Information” to: improve your ability to give specific feedback to individuals; effectively share information that may evoke a negative response; and to prepare for the typical reactions that such “sharing” may involve. Gaining the skills to do this well can improve everything from your ability to get things accomplished, the quality of your working relationships, and your long-term career success.     

Learning Objectives 

  • Build confidence and skills in conducting difficult one-to-one conversations

  • Develop and practice a delivery style that is empowering and effective

  • Deliver difficult information about performance, behavior, or results – honestly and proactively

  • Identify and communicate behavioral examples of problem performance

  • Understand how you are perceived when delivering difficult information

  • Acquire skills to handle immediate responses and defensive reactions

  • Develop strategies for getting results once the information has been delivered

Topics Covered 

  • Importance of timely data and feedback, and impact of not addressing issues

  • The five stages to “landing” feedback

  • A roadmap for the difficult meeting

  • Mistakes to avoid when delivering difficult information

  • An easy model to follow when writing and delivering the information

  • The ladder of inference – how we come to our conclusions and how to manage that process

  • Personal communication effectiveness

  • Developing plans for follow-up conversations that ensure results


This three-and-a-half hour workshop is highly interactive, and involves small-group discussion of case studies from the life science and technology industries. The workshop puts its emphasis on ‘skills practice’ in conjunction with theory. Participants will gain experience identifying the reactions to difficult information. They will develop strategies to work through the stages of shock, anger, and rejection to progress to acceptance, new learning, and changed behavior. They will receive easy-to-access handouts with reminders and strategies.   
Who Should Attend

  • Experienced managers, project and team leaders, and executives in the life science and technology industries who need to give behavioral and performance feedback to their reports

  • Individual contributors who want to improve their ability to share data or feedback in an effective manner

  • Anyone in an academic or professional environment who feels they would benefit from being stretched in a challenging but safe environment to develop their skills in facing up to, preparing for and delivering difficult information.  

Seminar leaders

Gwen Acton, PhD, is the CEO of Vivo Group.  She holds a doctorate in biology from MIT, and specializes in developing leadership and management skills of scientists and engineers. Maura Snow is a VP and Senior Consultant in Human Resources at Great Brook Biotech. She has over 20 years experience in HR management and staff development in the life science industries.  

Benefits to the Individual 

  • Greater confidence when delivering difficult information

  • Get more ideas accepted and successfully implemented

  • Improve your ability to get others to do what you need them to do

  • Strengthen long-term working relationships with colleagues

  • Insight into how others perceive what you are saying

  • Deeper understanding of workplace dynamics when confronted with dysfunctional behavior  

Benefits to the Organization

  • ALL important information and feedback is shared directly and effectively

  • More proactive approach to addressing problem areas

  • Better organizational transformation through more effective conversations


5:30-6:00 Registration, refreshments, and networking opportunity 
6:00-6:20 Introductions and overview of workshop 
6:20-8:45 Slide presentation, group discussion, case study analysis, and practice groups 
8:45-9:00 Wrap up and action items     

Workshop Takeaway Materials   

  • Hard-copy ‘Participant Workbook’ containing tips and tools for delivering difficult information

  • Tip sheet with reminders and strategies for use throughout the feedback process

  • Template worksheet for planning difficult conversations (hard-copy and electronic)

  • Recommended reading and resources guide  


Note: Registration is now closed.

Delivering Difficult Information

Vivo Group

 Bridging Science and Business