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.


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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Jennifer Abrams

About Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer has been recognized as one of "21 Women All K-12 Educators Need to Know" by Education Week's 'Finding Common Ground' blog. She considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, facilitating a group, coaching a colleague, supervising an employee and being an all around better human being in all types of interactions.

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    Praise for Jennifer

    “Jennifer has so squarely hit the mark with our teacher-leaders that she is one of the few presenters that they are always requesting when professional development is the question. Here at the University of Chicago, this acclaim and recognition does not come easily! Jennifer has a way of presenting information that gets quickly to the heart of the matter. Her ability to read the true needs of the group, regardless of the original focus, has made her a favorite among the faculty here at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.”

    Jason Lopez, Associate Director, Educational Programs
    University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, IL