What We Teach

About Our Training

In each session, the Top 20 trainers lead an audience through an interactive and high-energy presentation filled with personal stories, discussion and tips on how to make Top 20 Training concepts come alive in their lives and organization. Each Top 20 topic addresses a specific challenge students and adults encounter:


Pricing for training is determined by: length of presentation (keynote, half-day, full day, multiple days), travel expenses, and number of trainers. For more information, call 651-308-4876 or email us at info@top20training.com.

Topics Overview

Tapping into the core competencies of Social-Emotional Learning (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making), Top 20 Training uses common language, easily understood concepts, and practical tools for developing potential and being more effective in dealing with everyday situations and problems. As such, Top 20 has had a profoundly positive effect on students, faculty/staff, schools, teams, families, businesses, and organizations by helping them perform at their highest level and become the best version of themselves.

Frequently presented Top 20 topics include:

Challenge 1: Tending to Our Inner Life – How can we be more effective teachers and leaders in the 21st century?

1. Living Above the Line: How Our Thinking Governs Our Experience

This session focuses on becoming aware of our thinking so we know when it is Above the Line and working in our best interest and when it is Below the Line and not working in our best interest. It explores (1) the conditions that come up in our life that invite us to go Below the Line, (2) indicators telling us when we are Below the Line, (3) how to handle Below the Line experiences with more grace and dignity and (4) how to trampoline back Above the Line.

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2. Knowing How to See Things Differently: The Frame

The Frame helps people understand why they are getting the results they are getting in their relationships and experiences. The session examines (1) the tendency we have to blame others when we are not getting the results we desire, (2) how our ‘need to be right’ activates blame, (3) how curiosity helps us to get better results, and (4) how we can use the Frame to see more or differently.

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3. Knowing Our Purpose: What’s Our ‘Why’?

We are more effective when we are aware of our mission, purpose, and the values we bring to our work. However, conditions that occur throughout the year can diminish our clear sense of purpose and value. This session explores (1) what our individual mission, purpose, or values are, (2) those conditions that detract from our purpose, (3) how we can be aware when we are getting off purpose, and (4) how we can regain and stay focused on what is truly important.

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4. Managing Stress from the Inside Out

Although stress is necessary for a healthy life, chronic stress is a destroyer of life. This session focuses on how stressors come from outside and inside ourselves, how our thoughts increase stress, and practical ways to minimize unhealthy stress.

Challenge 2: How can we create a more effective and healthy culture of safety and trust?

5. Reducing Negativity: Eliminating Thought Circles and Tornadoes

Experiences and relationships are diminished by negativity. This session draws attention to negativity in our thinking and social conversations and how negative thinking and communication can be minimized.

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6. Creating an Effective and Healthy Workplace Culture

The culture we live or work in impacts our experience as well as our personal and professional development. This session presents four components of a Top 20 culture that create safety and trust and foster high performance: (1) everyone’s first job is to help others succeed, (2) communicate ‘you matter,’ (3) honor the absent, and (4) see the problem, own the problem. It also presents a tool for assessing the degree to which these components exist in a culture.

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7. Resolving Conflict Heart-to-Heart

Conflict seldom results in satisfactory resolution for most people. After examining several ineffective responses to conflict, this session focuses on a new way to see conflict. It presents (1) a number of strategies for making conflict situations productive for all involved, (2) a process for preparing for effective conflict resolution, and (3) a simple but practical tool to use when we have handled a situation in a problematic way.

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8. Staying on Track: Giving and Getting Feedback

Growth and improvement in our individual and collective effectiveness require frequent and helpful feedback from and for others. This session provides means by which we can reduce defensiveness and give and get feedback effectively.

Challenge 3: How can we keep students engaged in learning?

9. Understanding Student Disengagement

Students have a natural desire to learn. However, experiences that they have can shut down that desire. This session examines: (1) where students are in their brains when they come to school, (2) how the experience of school is impacting the inner life of students, (3) what we are doing in school that may be leading to student disengagement and (4) how students use disengagement as a means to protect themselves.

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10. Engaging Disengaged Students

This session examines a common and frequent experience that students have in school that results in disengagement and presents essential elements of a culture of learning that can minimize student disengagement.

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11. Learning from Mistakes and Moving Outside Our Comfort Zone

This session focuses on (1) the beliefs formed about ourselves from the messages we receive from others when we make a mistake, (2) what keeps us stuck in our comfort zone, and (3) more effective ways of responding to our own mistakes and the mistakes of others.

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12. Keeping Stupid in the Box: Eliminating Student Roadblocks for Success

Based on research from students and adults, this session identifies (1) five reasons youth believe or feel that they are stupid, (2) responses students make when they feel stupid, and (3) what teachers can do to minimize the negative impact stupid has on students.

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13. Establishing Realizations, Identifying Relevancy and Developing Star Qualities

This session focuses on (1) learning “sticking” beyond memorization through realizations In the Moment and After the Fact, (2) answering the relevancy question: “What’s in it for me?” and (3) developing Star Qualities while reducing Negative Mental Habits in all subject areas.

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14. Focusing and Listening in the Zone

Student learning is enhanced by their ability to focus. This session presents (1) five levels of listening and (2) a simple technique students can use to be more focused and stay in the Zone.

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15. Sending Messages That Foster Potential Activating Beliefs

Student achievement and engagement in school are largely impacted by their beliefs about themselves. This session examines (1) the influence messages have on forming self-limiting beliefs, (2) three laws of belief, and (3) a process for reducing the negative impact of potential limiting beliefs.

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16. Creating Safe Connections That Foster Belonging and Student Engagement

When students’ names are spoken and their voices are heard, they experience a sense of belonging and are more likely to engage in classroom activities. Four-at-the-Door and Pods are two ways to make this happen as students enter the classroom and work in small groups.


17. Sharing with Students the Secret about Confusion

When students are confused in school, they often go to negative thoughts (“This is stupid.”) and negative beliefs (“I’m not smart enough.”) followed by quitting or disengagement. After presenting the problem confusion presents, this session (1) focuses on seeing confusion as a natural and necessary part of ALL learning and (2) identifying meaningful ways we can ‘celebrate’ confusion with students so they stay engaged in learning.


Additional Topics

More topics that can be covered in training seminars, as well as in Top 20 books include:

  • Assuring That All Students Know That They Have Intelligence             
  • Assessing the Impact of Grades                                             
  • Fostering Internal Motivation                                                            
  • Partnering with Parents
  • Stages of Potential and the 80/20 Rule
  • A New Formula for Success: S = IQ x EQ
  • Roadblocks to Success: Boredom, Procrastination
  • Nonverbals: What We’re Saying When We’re Not Saying Anything
  • Classroom Processes: Affirmation and Conflict Circles
  • Becoming: Quest for True Self
  • Leadership: Creating Value for Others
  • Formats + Classroom Application