Finding Your Voice In Facilitating Productive Conversations

July 1, 2013

Read Jennifer's contribution as an expert in the article Finding Your Voice In Facilitating Productive Conversations in The Leading Teacher Journal.

Excerpt:

Learning to lead a meeting is more than just managing agendas. It means reading the group’s mood and stepping in at the right moment to turn attention back to productive work, according
to Jennifer Abrams, author of Having Hard Conversations (Corwin, 2009).

A good facilitator, Abrams said, sets the tone and can “change the whole day” for a teaching team meeting. She recalls a moment from her time as a district staff developer for new teachers. It was 4 p.m., she said, and the teachers were tired after their workday. She began to hand out packets of information. She got to one young woman who seemed as though she was in a particularly bad mood. As she handed the woman the packet, the woman shoved it back and said, “I totally know all this already.”

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About Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's latest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Her previous publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.

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Praise for Jennifer

“Jennifer presented a workshop on Having Hard Conversations to our staff. She is a superb presenter, with a strong command of the content, excellent real examples, and professional delivery. Staff have since been talking to me all week about how much they enjoyed the presentation. I only wish we had more time with her, as these practices have the potential to have a really positive impact on our workplace.”

Cameron Paterson, Head of Teaching and Learning
Shore Sydney Church of England Grammar School, North Sydney, Australia