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Speaker: Sarah Noll Wilson | CEO/Chief Edge Officer, Sarah Noll Wilson

People are avoiding eye contact or exchanging knowing glances to each other. The energy in the conference room is heavy and it feels like a swirling mess of misunderstandings. Something is getting in the way of your team’s success and it feels like everyone is spinning and getting nowhere. You’d fix it if you could, but you have no idea how to begin. Congratulations, you have an elephant in the room! An elephant in the room is created when we don’t explore a known problem that is impacting our success. In this moment, we have a choice: we can avoid or acknowledge. The benefits of being able to free an elephant can be transformative, while avoiding will result in toleration or, worse yet, deterioration of trust. To move from avoiding to acknowledging requires us first to get curious with ourselves and each other. By building the muscle of a curiosity-first approach to team conflict, we can increase ownership, practice conversations that are candid and compassionate, and build deeper levels of trust that results in more powerful partnerships.

Armed with a decade of research, practical advice, and powerful stories, this presentation will teach you how to shift from violent politeness to candid, curious, and compassionate conversations..

In this session you will:


  • Define observable behaviors that indicate a problem is known and being avoided
  • Identify the most common “elephants” we create when avoiding a problematic situation
  • Explore the neuroscience behind stress and how that contributes to the silence
  • Discover key strategies and language for how to talk about the elephant in the room


  • Leadership & Navigation
  • Relationship Management
  • Communication