The Conversational Capacity® Workshop for Educational Professionals

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
— Nelson Mandela

Practical Strategies for Elevating Your Effectiveness

Operating effectively in an educational context is one of the most challenging tasks anywhere. It is a high pressure, high stress, complex, adaptive environment, and it requires a heightened degree of personal and organizational competence.

We can help you and your colleagues elevate your effectiveness by treating dialogue as a discipline.

We do this – in a meaningful and demonstrable way – by helping you build your Conversational Capacity.


Conversational capacity refers to the ability – of an individual or a team – to engage in constructive, balanced, learning-focused dialogue about difficult subjects and in challenging circumstances. It’s a pivotal competence:

  • Personal performance: A person with high conversational capacity makes every conversation, class, or meeting smarter because they’re in the room. A person with low conversational capacity – even if they have high intelligence and good intentions – often has the opposite effect.
  • Collective performance: A district, school, class, or relationship with high conversational capacity can perform well, remaining on track even when dealing with their most troublesome issues. The performance of a team with low capacity, by contrast, can be derailed by a trivial disagreement. In this sense conversational capacity isn’t just another aspect of effective teamwork – it defines it. A team that can’t communicate about its most pressing issues isn’t really a team at all. It’s just a group of people who can’t engage with each other effectively when it counts.


Conversational capacity strengthens every activity that depends on open, clear, effective dialogue for its effectiveness – from running districts, schools, classrooms, and meetings, to making decisions, and giving feedback, to dealing with school boards, parents, and other community groups. It’s also key to crafting strategy, managing change, and fostering innovation.

The more challenging your aspirations, conflicts, or circumstances the more vital a role conversational capacity will play in your performance.

Anyone who has tried to exercise leadership in the face of a creative challenge soon learns that creativity depends on the interaction among multiple people with differing skills, perspectives, personalities, and attitudes.
— Dean Williams, author, Real Leadership and Leadership for a Fractured World


This distinctive, highly-acclaimed workshop is fun, engaging, and most importantly, actionable. The workshop is often a turning point in the work of many people and teams. Many describe a clear contrast between their pre-workshop and post-workshop performance.

The workshop is based on the ideas outlined in Craig Weber’s two books, Conversational Capacity: The Secret to Building Successful Team that Perform When the Pressure is On (McGraw-Hill, 2013), and it’s sequel, Influence in Action: How to Build Your Conversational Capacity, Do Meaningful Work, and Make a Powerful Difference (McGraw-Hill, 2019).

Drawing on rigorous research in education, psychology, mindfulness, leadership studies, business management, and neuroscience, the Conversational Capacity Workshop shows participants how to build healthier, more adaptive teams and working relationships. Highly practical, the ideas have been tested and refined in a wide range of organizational settings. They work.

The core concepts and skills are easy to learn, remember, and apply, and yet the overall discipline has depth. One recent participant put it this way: “The conversational capacity discipline is immediately applicable – and yet it can fill a lifetime with practice.”

In the workshop participants explore three domains of practice:

  • Awareness – They will learn to recognize two powerful human tendencies that, when triggered, so easily cripple collaboration and communication. They’ll explore how these tendencies affect their own behavior and the behavior of other people.
  • Mindset – They will learn about a guiding mindset that allows them to remain more focused and effective under pressure – even when they’re being triggered.
  • Skill set – They will also learn a set of simple but powerful skills – demonstrable behaviors – for remaining balanced and learning-focused under pressure that can be practiced, measured, and improved.

In each domain they identify a core competence and adopt specific practices to help them grow and expand their conversational capacity.


Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good

— Malcolm Gladwell

More than just a flash-in-the-pan learning experience, the workshop sets up both individuals and teams for ongoing skill building so that with every passing week they’re applying what they’ve learned and expanding their competence.

It’s a genuine discipline that requires regular practice, so we show participants how to turn every conversation, meeting, problem, conflict, decision, and difficult person into an opportunity to do that practice.

The goal is to create an upward spiral of performance where their daily work helps people build their conversational capacity, and their higher conversational capacity improves their daily work.


Because the workshop provides such a foundational competence the benefits are plentiful. Participants will learn to

  • Contribute to every conversation and meeting in a way that makes it smarter.
  • Generate teamwork characterized by less strife and more collaboration; less rigidity and more agility; less defensiveness and more learning; less frustration and more fun.
  • Exert greater influence and help good ideas get the traction they deserve.
  • Create greater fit between what they’re working together to achieve and how they’re working together to achieve it.
  • Sharpen their emotional and social intelligence.
  • Do more meaningful work that contributes to the success of their districts, schools and classrooms while acquiring skills they can use in every aspect of their lives.
  • Adapt their thinking to fit a new problem rather than interpret a new problem so it fits their old thinking.
  • Remain level headed and learning-focused in frenzied circumstances that cause most people to shut down or go ballistic.
  • Demonstrably strengthen their capacity for problem solving and decision-making.
  • Create a more inclusive and engaged workplace culture that encourages everyone to bring their A-game to your classroom, school, or district.
  • Boost their competence and confidence for dealing with difficult issues and stressful circumstances.
  • Participate in their teams, projects, and classrooms in a way that cultivates the higher aspects of their humanity – candor, curiosity, courage, humility, conviction, and compassion.
  • Harness the power of diversity in the service of learning and making smart choices.
  • Cultivate interpersonal and team dynamics that are increasingly open, rigorous, balanced, and respectful.
  • Improve levels of trust, civility, and psychological safety.
  • Gain an advantage over less disciplined people and teams by cultivating the capacity to think more clearly, quickly, and collaboratively when it counts.
  • Transform the workplace into a dojo by using the most important activities in their daily work as a vehicle for continually building their conversational capacity.


The workshop is perfect for any educator who wants to improve how they converse with others about important issues. It improves the performance of individuals, teams, as well as the relationship between people and groups. In short, it’s perfect anyplace you want to improve personal or collective performance.

  • Are you up against significant changes or challenges that will require your entire district to work at its best?
  • Do you feel like your staff is capable of performing at a much higher level but you’re not just sure what to do about it?
  • Are there important issues in your school or district that aren’t getting enough traction?
  • Do you suffer from conversations that spark more defensiveness and dysfunction than learning and progress?
  • Or is your team performing well but you’d like to boost its capacity for working effectively when the heat is on?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, the Conversational Capacity Workshop can help.


Facing unique issues and challenges? Want to tie this workshop to other development initiatives? We can tailor this course so it supports your strategies and development goals.

WORKSHOP LENGTH: Given the unique environment in the educational training arena, the delivery format is flexible. We will collaboratively design a delivery format that works for you.


To learn more, or to schedule a workshop for your organization, send us an email.

Randy Weber

Randy Weber

Randy Weber has worked with Conversational Capacity concepts and skills for over two decades. With a BA in History from UC Berkeley and a MA in Education from USC, Randy’s primary research and practice has focused on teaching elementary school children the basics of Conversational Capacity. Based on this work, Randy and Craig are co-authoring a new book, tentatively titled Conversational Capacity in the Classroom, to help educators apply the discipline to their demanding work environment.