So your group or department participated in a recent DEI training or initiative, now what? You may be eager to lead a conversation around a common experience but find yourself a bit nervous or out of practice. This guide will help you set the expectations, create a respectful space, and guide the conversation as a co-learner and less of a facilitator. Consider that team members may decide not to participate for a variety of reasons. Creating an open and welcoming environment will allow for others to participate at any point.
PRIOR TO THE EVENT: SET EXPECTATIONS
Inform your team that you intend to provide an opportunity to share their reflections on the common learning or professional development experience. This will prevent anyone from being caught off guard. Make sure you also have set aside enough time for a discussion that doesn’t feel rushed.
Example: “Next month at our team meeting we will reflect on the common reading/training that many of us have completed. We want to learn from each other, better understand this topic, and see how it applies to our workplace. We will have some guiding questions to get us started.”
AT THE START OF THE EVENT: SET GROUND RULES
Let everyone know that the conversations in this space are to adhere to certain guidelines. Provide some examples to get you started and ask for the group to add to this list.
- Actively listen
- Make space for each person to participate fully
- Respect that everyone has different viewpoints and experiences
- Ensure confidentiality
- Extend grace and assume the best intentions; making mistakes is part of the process
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
Make sure the tone and tenor of the conversation are established. Inquiries will be made in the spirit of curiosity, compassion, and desire to foster inclusivity. Asking open-ended questions is a good way to begin the reflection process. Acknowledge your role as a co-learner and that this is just the beginning of conversations.
- What did this (video/book/training) make you think about?
- Was anything affirming for you that you’d like to share?
- Was there anything that made you uncomfortable?
- How do these topics/themes show up in our workplace or classroom?
- What strategies would you like to see our group use moving forward?
WRAP-UP: ACKNOWLEDGE AND APPRECIATE
Appreciate the contributions, thoughts, and feelings that were shared. Help summarize any action steps that were discussed. Make a plan for following through. Ask the group to suggest topics that they would like to explore in the future.
For additional references:
- What? So what? Now what? By Thinkific: https://www.thinkific.com/blog/what-so-what-now-what/
- The Discussion Book: 50 Great Ways to Get People Talking by Stephen Brookfield and Stephen Preskill: https://proxying.lib.ncsu.edu/index.php?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1134921&site=ehost-live&scope=site
- Sustaining Conversations about Diversity and Inclusion at Work by Minah Kim https://www.idealist.org/en/careers/sustaining-conversations-about-diversity-and-inclusion-at-work
- Getting Started with Difficult Conversations: https://www.aauw.org/resources/member/governance-tools/dei-toolkit/difficult-conversations/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=idealist