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Conversations Worth Having for Library Leaders (at any level)

  • In-Person Workshop
  • 7.5 CE Hours


Conversations are at the heart of everything we do in libraries. They are key to effective communications, leadership, high performing teams, and strong relationships. We all know that they influence us, but we rarely stop to think about how much they affect our well-being and other as well as the health of our libraries and communities. Our conversations directly influence our present moment and possible futures. Are you having Conversations Worth Having?

Communication. It remains one of the top challenges for organizations, teams, and relationships. Almost everyone struggles with how to effectively communicate when they are frustrated or facing conflict. They show up in libraries as:

  • Employee disengagement, malaise, and turnover
  • Dysfunctional teams, boards or committees
  • Inability to give and receive feedback
  • Negative attitudes, cliques, and gossip; a culture of “me”

If you’re dealing with any of these outcomes, Conversations Worth Having for Library Leaders will give you the skills and tools to turn them around. This course is grounded in Appreciative Inquiry, a widely used positive change approach. Two simple Appreciative Inquiry practices can spark meaningful connections, ignite creativity, and empower library leaders at any level to make a difference.

This highly experiential course is built upon Berrett Kohler’s bestseller, Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement by Cheri Torres and Jackie Stavros.


Course Outcomes


  • Keep your cool when you want to explode!
  • Effectively challenge assumptions and preconceptions, including yours.
  • Deal with conflict quickly and effectively.
  • Fuel productive and meaningful engagement.
  • Communicate successfully with people who hold negative attitudes or defensive positions.
  • Give and receive critical feedback in ways that promote learning and high performance.
  • Ask the kind of questions that deepen understanding, strengthen connections, and inspire possibility.
  • Talk to colleagues in ways that invite them to collaborate on projects and strategic outcomes.
  • Listen with genuine curiosity.
  • Frame any conversation, even one around a highly complex problem, to inspire creative and innovative thinking.


What Else You’ll Get:

  • Six hours of live, interactive instruction from Certified Trainers in Conversations Worth Having
  • A bonus 90-minute virtual session on the AIR conversation framework, to put what you’ve learned into practice
  • A manual, workbook journal, and book discussion guide
  • Catered lunch and refreshments
  • Participation in an ongoing Conversations Worth Having Community of Practice to continue honing your conversational skills
  • OhioNet members will receive a 50% discount on registration
  • A first look at OhioNet’s new office location!


What People Are Saying About the Course:
“CWH provided me with tools to improve my interactions with those at work and in my personal life. I have incorporated aspects of it from the very first session. It’s that easy and helpful. Other things will take practice, but it will be worth it. Using generative questions and appreciative inquiry made an immediate impact, especially in my work setting.” Robin Crumrin, Dean of Library Services, Cunningham Memorial Library, Indiana State University.


Course Modules

In-Person, Friday, October 21, 2022. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
550 Polaris Pkwy, Westerville, OH 43082

Module 1
The Power of Conversation: Understand the nature of our conversations, how they affect human being and doing, and develop your ability to choose.

Module 2
The Art of Asking Questions: Understand the basics of Appreciative Inquiry and improve your ability to ask generative questions to foster effective communication.

Module 3
Intentional Framing: Use positive framing to intentionally foster effective communication and continue to develop your ability to ask generative questions.

Module 4
Step up to Feedback: Develop the skill and the motivation to routinely seek out feedback and promptly provide effective feedback, even in the most critical of situations.

Bonus Module:
The Complete Conversation: Using the A.I.R. framework to put your generative questions into a conversation that will lead to action.
**This module will take place online (using Zoom) on Monday, November 14, 2022 10-11:30 a.m.**


It is recommended that participants read the book “Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement” by Jacqueline Stavros and Cheri Torres prior to attending this event. This book is available for purchase from your favorite book seller or to borrow from your local library.


Please complete the very short pre-course questionnaire by October 14.

Who Should Attend

Anyone interested in developing skills in having conversations that lead to more effective communications, leadership, high performing teams, and strong relationships.


Michelle Bradley Director of Consulting Services

Michelle Bradley is a certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator through the Center for Appreciative Inquiry and holds a certificate in Creating Positive Change from the Change Lab, as well as a certificate in Creating Wellbeing and PERMAH Survey Accreditation from The Wellbeing Lab, she is a certified practitioner in Human Centered Design from LUMA, and a Harwood Public Innovator. Michelle is also a certified “Conversations Worth Having" trainer.

Michelle has more than 25 years of professional experience in libraries working in various capacities, including as a public library director. She is currently the Director of Consulting Services at OhioNet. Michelle’s educational background includes a B.A. in Advertising from Purdue University, a Master’s in Library Science from Indiana University, and a Graduate Certificate in Public Management from IUPUI’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Nancy S. Kirkpatrick

Nancy S. Kirkpatrick is the Executive Director and CEO of OhioNet. She is a certified Human-Centered Design Practitioner and has over a decade of experience working in and with libraries. Before entering librarianship, Nancy practiced non-profit law and advocacy. A 2005 ALA Spectrum Scholar, she currently serves on ALA's Spectrum Advisory Board and the Diversity Research Grants Committee. Nancy holds a BA in Journalism from Drake University, a JD from the TC Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond, and an MS in Library and Information Science from the iSchool (formerly GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nancy is completing her certification as a CWH trainer and AI facilitator.