Talking points to start and have conversations about diversity
At Pivot Point, we define a candid conversation as: the ability to create a common understanding of ideas, desires and observations among parties. It is a two-way exchange involving both a sender and an audience, and includes written, verbal and non-verbal behaviors. Its ultimate goal is to affect the knowledge and/or behavior of the audience.
Key word for me here is “two-way exchange.” It is a dialogue. Both audiences engage for it to be truly candid. We have all experienced being talked at, and we leave feeling shame and unmotivated to behave differently. We have to be curious, ask questions, and listen for a conversation to be candid.
This is important because diversity is a candid conversation.
Diversity affects everyone
The term diversity often elicits a defensive response amongst those that do not consider themselves to be “diverse.” Diversity lives in the eye of beholder. I believe that we all have a diversity story. We all have experienced being different than others, feeling like you do not belong, or having to show a different side of yourself (covering).
So, how do we get candid?
A framework to be candid
To engage in a candid conversation about diversity, we offer the three D’s – define, discuss, and decide. In our “Conduct Candid Conversations” workshops, we unpack each step and practice having conversations that promote real change.
To get candid, first, define the objective of the conversation. Do your homework and prepare to be candid. Go into the discussion assuming positive intent of your audience. Assuming they are coming from a good place, what might that be? Then, bring awareness to issue. Provide some parameters and boundaries for the goal of the conversation. Perhaps starting with, “We both care about X. I want to discuss X more with you.”
Step two. Dive into discuss mode. Ask powerful open-ended questions that start with “what” or “how” to make it a two-way exchange. Then, listen actively. Park your assumptions, be curious to learn, resist thinking about what you are going to say while the person is talking. Just listen. Turn off your brain, and just listen to learn.
Final step. Decide. Here, we are seeking to commit to specific actions and confirm next steps. There is nothing worse than having a candid conversation, than leaving without a resolution or action plan. Save five minutes at the end of the discussion for, “what did we decide today?”
Know your team. Meet them where they are at.
Assess your team’s candor
- Do they understand the necessary ingredients of a candid conversation, barriers to having them, and strategies to overcome them?
- Do they listen to learn and ask open-ended questions to conduct candid conversations?
- Do they ensure there is a decision at the conclusion of a candid conversation?
If not, let us help. We know how hard it can be to start the dialogue, yet on the other side of it is a beautiful discovery. Free your team to be candid. Empower them with the tools to be successful.
Gender equality is a candid conversation.
That is why our website is packed full with resources to have this candid conversation, including:
- Five Questions to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Discussion Guide
- “Pivot Point” podcast season two with expert interviews on Candid Conversations
- 2-minute video overviews of key topics in diversity, leadership, and career development
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