Having Conversations Around Diversity in the Workplace

Uncomfortable conversations can be inevitable when it comes to culturally sensitive topics. But sometimes these conversations are important to have. It is essential in the workplace to provide a comforting and safe environment for all employees. In this section, we will explore the ways you can have productive, understanding, and meaningful conversations surrounding diversity. 

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Communicating about Culturally Sensitive Issues

Discussions about cultural differences can be uncomfortable. They take courage. In this course, Duke University professor Dr. Daisy Lovelace shares principles and strategies that can help you have more productive, meaningful conversations on topics related to diversity.

Ground Rules for Culturally Sensitive Conversations

  1. Approach with an open mind: Listen to colleague's perspectives and try to understand without comparing to yours.
  2. Avoid stereotypes: Stereotypes are based on broad generalizations and can be unproductive in sensitive conversations. Make sure to remember that not everyone is the same and everyone experiences things differently.
  3. Have courage to get uncomfortable: Recognizing that culturally sensitive conversations can easily become uncomfortable is an important realization to make. This realization will help the conversation be more productive. No one has all the answers and that's okay. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable and admit to what you don't know.
  4. Acknowledge triggers: If the conversation is turning into too much of an uncomfortable territory, be conscious of what your triggers are. Your triggers will help you know when you should change topics or end the conversation before it goes in the wrong direction. Respecting each other's boundaries will prevent damage in the relationship and allow you time to process the discussion.