Great Conversations Part 1: Preparing for a Great Conversation

Posted on March 26, 2018

Our professional and personal lives are filled with conversations, some of them trivial and others crucial. Often we find ourselves agonizing over an upcoming conversation, wondering how to make it go well. In Great Conversations, the book I co-created with Travis Hellstrom, I offer a dozen simple tools for improving the quality of your conversations.


Some of the most important work of hosting a great conversation happens before anyone enters the conference room. As a conversation host, you have the opportunity to set the conversation up for success from the get go. The first tools in Great Conversations help you prepare for your meeting ahead of time. When I’m preparing for an important conversation I rely on the first tool, a simple checklist to make sure I’m ready.


10 Things to Check Off


As I prepare for an important conversation, one of the things I focus on is place. This may be surprising, but I find that the physical environment can have a huge impact on the success of a conversation. Here are five questions I like to ask myself about place when I host a conversation.


5 Questions to Ask About Place


If you’d like more straightforward tools for improving your conversations look out for our upcoming posts: Great Conversations Part 2 and 3. Or you can contact Kelsa Summer for a complimentary copy of the book:



Great Conversations Cover PageKelsa Summer graduated from Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) in 2017 with an MBA in Managing for Sustainability. She currently serves at the Assistant Director for Student Experience and Outreach at GPS. Kelsa also works as a freelance sustainability consultant and you can learn more her work here:


  • B Corporation
  • Center for New Leadership
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Consulting
  • Facilitation
  • Management Programs
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Professional Development

Kelsa Summer, Assistant Director for Graduate and Professional Studies