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We love to hear about your successes and also about your challenges—no matter how large or small. Let us know how your participation in an APPEL Knowledge Services course has helped you, your team, or your organization once you returned to your job. In addition to sharing your story here to be read by others, we may contact you to learn more and publish your story in one of our APPEL Knowledge Services publications. This is all to support the dissemination of lessons learned across the agency. Of course, we won’t publish any material until we have cleared it with you.

In order to inspire you, below the form we have provided excerpts from stories we have received from past APPEL Knowledge Services course attendees.



The assertiveness course follows me almost on a daily basis. First, it helped me feel better that I’m not alone in terms of being reluctant to speak up. I remind myself to be more assertive every day by asking myself, “What’s the worst that could happen if I speak up?” It’s having an impact on my personal life and my work life—and that’s particularly important because a great deal of my sense of self-worth comes from my work. Because I’m asking more questions at work, we are finding more problems and bringing them to light earlier. We are planning some technical test right now, and I’m not afraid to ask, “What about that?” and “Why are you doing it this way?” Before the course, I would have called those “stupid questions.” But now I see my questions are uncovering unexamined behaviors and assumptions, and may be keeping us out of trouble down the road.

Course attendee at Assertiveness Training for Technical Professionals – Langley Research Center


When talking about the impact of attending the Crucial Conversations course, Heather—a self-described introvert who tends to remain silent—said, “This course was about changing how one reacts to situations. We are socially programmed to remain ‘silent’ in conversation and not share our opinions, or become verbally ‘violent.’ Since taking the course, I speak up more and bring up conversations that I otherwise would have pushed off to a later time (i.e., never). This has reduced my workload and has allowed me to spend my time more effectively. I can definitely agree with the authors that crucial conversations done poorly cost an organization time and money. This course, from my experience, has the ability to change every aspect of your communication skills that are used in your life every day.” 

Course attendee at Crucial Conversations– Langley Research Center


“I took this course (APPEL-CMPP) at a good time. My group was in the middle of renegotiating a contract with another organization. The course material and lessons learned that were shared by the instructor helped me develop the skills I needed to have more intelligent and thorough conversations with the Contracting Officer (CO). A short-term impact of the course was that being more confident in my contract knowledge helped make my interactions with the CO more comfortable. A longer-term impact was that my going to the course helped my group find the best contract.”

Course attendee at Contract Management Principles and Practices – Marshall Space Flight Center