Jennifer Abrams

Having Hard Conversations & Swimming in the Deep End – What Does It Take? – with Jennifer Abrams

February 3rd & 4th, 2020

9:00 AM – 3:30 PM (8:00 Registration Opens)

Trader Duke’s Delta Hotel – South Burlington

Registration Fee: $295 for single day, $545 for both days

Registration Deadline: January 24th

Day 1 – February 3rd – Having Hard Conversations: 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 environments are best for when we do speak? Based on Jennifer’s book, Having Hard Conversations, and her work with conflict and interpersonal communication, this session will provide participants with action plans and scripting tools for having those necessary hard conversations.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Identify why they hesitate having hard conversations
  • Choose questions to ask themselves before they choose to speak up
  • Articulate in professional language the challenges they are facing
  • Determine the goals of the conversation and write an action plan of support
  • Script the conversation avoiding trigger words that put others on the defensive
  • Choose the best ‘wheres’ and ‘whens’ for a productive discussion

Day 2 – February 4th – Swimming in the Deep End: No matter where what role we play in a school (teacher, team lead, admin), we all strive to make a difference for students.  We have initiatives we want to roll out, mandates to fulfill, and projects to design. Yet with how fast we move in education these days, we don’t spend enough time on our communication around those projects and we end up not being as successful at getting our messages across. We need to build up a skill set of messaging capabilities, ‘resistance management’ strategies and for the sake of our health, our ‘stress tolerance.’ This workshop will provide support, a laugh, to help you communicate more effectively, confidently and collaboratively about whatever project or initiative you are undertaking.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Learn more about the implementation of initiatives, the complexity of it all and where we ‘trip up’ in our messaging
  • Look at the research around resistance to change and develop a tool kit for managing resistance
  • Develop a bandwidth and strength around psychologically managing our ourselves and building our ‘stress tolerance’ during times of change


Cancellation Policy: For all Vermont Principals’ Association professional learning events, the VPA must be notified in writing, of any cancellations no later than 10 days prior to the event. Cancellation notifications received after the 10 day deadline will be subject to a fee of 50% of the total cost of registration.