TIP: Difficult Conversations

Toward Inclusive Practices (TIP)

This TIP (“Toward Inclusive Practices”) message from the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity provides best practices for navigating difficult conversations on campus and in the workplace.

Difficult Conversations

“The best things in life are on the other side of difficult conversations.”

– Kwame Christian, Director of the American Negotiation Institute

If we want to create a more inclusive environment on campus and move toward equity, having difficult conversations about DEI topics is important. Talking about issues such as race, gender, and sexual orientation can be uncomfortable and intimidating for some, but these discussions help create a more inclusive and welcoming space for all. Below, you will find resources, tips, and trainings to get started and avoid common pitfalls.

For quick reference, some common themes across resources and platforms are:

  • Establish ground rules/norms
  • Invite everyone to the table as equal contributors
  • Make sure all voices are heard
  • Determine goals in advance
  • Listen more than you speak
  • When you do speak, use “I” statements (speak from your own experience)
  • The goal is not necessarily to agree but to gain understanding

Resources for Difficult Conversations in DEI

Getting Started:

In the Office:

In the Classroom: