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Having Hard Conversations: A Deep Dive

  • ISA 45 Sportlaan Amstelveen, NH, 1185 TB Netherlands (map)

Why come?

Many of us dread having a hard conversation. It isn’t easy but it is necessary. How do we find voice around what matters? This workshop helps us acquire skills to be able to better have more humane and growth producing conversations with colleagues, parents, supervisors and others.



  • Early Bird Rate: 500 Euros (register by 6 September, 2019)   

  • Standard Rate: 550 Euros 

Group rate (3 or more):

  • Group Early-bird rate: 450 Euros (register by 6 September, 2019)      

  • Group Standard rate: 500 Euros 

Workshop details

Who is it for?

This workshop is for everyone who works in a school – teachers at all grade levels Pre-K to 12, department and team leads, administrators at all levels, managers, administrative assistants, support staff, etc.

Workshop goals:

As administrators, coaches or colleagues, we often come up against situations where difficult topics must be addressed. What do we know about the best strategies for those moments? What questions should we be asking ourselves before we speak, and what language is best for when we do speak? Based on Jennifer’s books, Having Hard Conversations, and Hard Conversations Unpacked, and her work with conflict and interpersonal communication, this workshop will provide participants with action plans and scripting tools for having those necessary humane and growth producing conversations

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the workshop, participants will learn how to:

  • Keep conflict at a cognitive level that is more psychologically safe for all.

  • Understand the differences between a problem to be solved and a polarity to be managed.

  • Identify why they hesitate to have hard conversations.

  • Choose questions to ask themselves before they choose to speak up in order to do so more humanely.

  • Articulate in professional language the challenges they are facing.

  • Determine the goals of the conversation and write an action plan of support.

  • Look at a hard conversation through a variety of lenses including culture, generation and gender.

  • Script the conversation avoiding trigger words that put others on the defensive.

  • Respond productively when conflict escalates.

  • Discover some helpful tips for the wheres and whens and hows of having productive yet challenging conversations.


Day 1

8:30 – 10:00 Introductions and Case Study Beginning

10:00 – 10:15 Break

10:15 – 12:00

  • Looking at Hesitations to Having Hard Conversations

  • Articulation of Professional Behaviors

  • Action Planning- A Beginning

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-14:15 A Deep Dive into Being Other-Focused with Action Planning

14:15 -14:30 Break


  • Continue Action Planning

  • Reflection on Day 1 – Look Ahead to Day 2

Day 2

8:30 – 9:00 Review of Homework/Reading

10:00 – 10:15 Break

10:15 – 12:00 Scripting Hard Conversations – Orientation, Samples, Writing Time, Receiving Input

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-14:00 Extending the Learning:

  • What about Other Types of Conflict?

  • What if they say? – Responses – Productive Talk

  • What Wheres and Whens, Body Language, Location, Etc.

14:00 -14:15 Break


  • How Can You Handle Feedback with More Grace?

  • Final Reflection, Q& and Conclusion

Session leader


Jennifer Abrams

Writer and educational consultant

Formerly a high school English teacher and a new teacher coach, Jennifer Abrams is currently a communications consultant who works with educators and others on new teacher and employee support, being generationally savvy, effective collaboration skills, having hard conversations and creating identity safe workplaces.

Jennifer’s publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate & Create Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, Whens and What Ifs.  Her newest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives.

Internationally, Jennifer has been invited to present at the EARCOS, NESA, ECIS, AISA and Tri-Association conferences, and at schools across Asia and Europe, as well as having been a PTC facilitator for the ‘Instructional Supervision’ course and the designer of the TTC course, ‘The Heart of Teaching’.  She is featured in ASCD’s video series, “Master Class,” and in the Ontario (Canada) Ministry of Education’s “Leadership Matters: Supporting Open-to-Learning Conversations” video series.

Jennifer was named one of the “18 Women All K-12 Educators Should Know,” featured in the blog ‘Finding Common Ground’’ fromEducation Week, and has also been awarded the International Educational Entrepreneur Award by the International Academy for Educational Entrepreneurs. More about Jennifer’s work can be found at her website,, and she can also be found on Twitter @jenniferabrams.