Workshops & Talks
Workplaces today are more diverse than ever before. We work with people of differing races, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, histories, and beliefs. These differences can lead to challenging interactions, but they are also an opportunity for problem-solving, creativity, and team-building. Our strategies offer new ways of listening, responding, and working together. We call this work Conversations for Change.
Conversations for Change
In Conversations for Change, we use facilitated conversation to explore how historical patterns of inequity play out in daily interactions. We notice and name the walls that cause communication to break down.
We practice listening and responding differently, and together we work towards strengthening your workforce and their ability to communicate across differences.
Our four-step process is actually a series of four conversations:
I. Presentation of Foundational Principles and Ideas
(We talk to you)
We present the core concepts and skills that are the foundation of our work to leadership.
II. Creating a Framework
(You talk to us)
We interview leaders to understand the organization’s structure, demography, and goals, and together, create a customized plan for your specific workforce and the challenges you face.
III. Workforce Workshops
(Everyone joins the conversation)
We conduct a set of two workshops with your workforce.
Workshop 1 examines discrimination and its effect on communication. We look at cultural patterns of not talking about discrimination and explain microaggressions and their impact on productivity, creativity, and culture.
Workshop 2 provides tools for responding in the workplace. Participants practice responding to uncomfortable conversations and building connections across difference.
IV. Touch Back with Leadership
(We go back to you)
As the final step in our process, we circle back to leadership to share key observations and data, listen to feedback, and offer support so that you can continue to create a culture of inclusive communication at your organization.
While the Conversations for Change Workshops are the hallmark of our curriculum, we also offer a series of presentations as an alternative way to get started. The following three presentations can be selected a la carte, but are designed as a series, so we recommend scheduling all three to provide a working foundation for your team.
Two Different Worlds: Cultural patterns in conversations
Discrimination is a historical and cultural phenomenon. Regardless of our different backgrounds, we all have discrimination stories. This talk helps leaders move past blame and shame. We provide a foundational understanding of what discrimination is, and most importantly, how it can impact workplace interactions. We use the term “two worlds” to describe the differing experiences of discrimination that we bring to conversations. The talk ends with suggestions for naming, noticing, and working with conversations across difference.
Conversation as a Foundation for Effective Leadership
This foundational presentation helps leaders notice the ways that interaction is crucial for almost all workplace accomplishments. Topics include: the relationship between “ordinary” or personal conversations and task-related conversations, the importance of low-stakes conversations, and the importance of framing conversations as a crucial leadership skill.
Inclusive Conversations: Going beyond
“not being offensive”
Too often, workforce inclusion trainings focus on what we shouldn’t do. Instead of avoiding certain words and behaviors or worrying about saying “the wrong thing,” we make a case for practicing conversations that do work. Inclusive conversations are a catalyst for creative, efficient work. They allow us to take advantage of our diverse workforces, instead of being afraid of differing backgrounds and expectations. In this talk, we explain what inclusive conversations look and sound like, and why they are important for successful workforce development.