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Copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications 2009 1 “Gateway Events™: How to Turn Diversity Tension into Diversity Dialogue” Northern Illinois.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications 2009 1 “Gateway Events™: How to Turn Diversity Tension into Diversity Dialogue” Northern Illinois."— Presentation transcript:

1 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications “Gateway Events™: How to Turn Diversity Tension into Diversity Dialogue” Northern Illinois University September 23, 2009 Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D.

2 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications The plan for this session…. To provide skills for communicating in the face of diversity-related tension, confusion, and misunderstanding.

3 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications What Is a “Gateway Event”™? A “Gateway Event” is an initially negative encounter that carries with it the potential of bringing about productive dialogue and, therefore, serving as a gateway to greater understanding and better working relationships.

4 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications “Gateway Events” Some Examples You or one of your friends/colleagues inadvertently says or does something offensive. You witness or learn about an inappropriate word or action by someone on campus. You or one of your friends/colleagues is falsely accused of bias. You or one of your friends/colleagues is offended by the words or behavior of a someone else. You are called upon to discuss a delicate diversity- related issue with a someone on campus. NIU

5 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications Components of Handling “Gateway Events” Emotional Intelligence “The ability to identify and observe an emotion is a cornerstone of Emotional Intelligence and greatly increases the chances of diminishing that emotion’s impact on our ability to function. First - How you feel about the event

6 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications Components of Handling “Gateway Events,” cont. Second - What you say or do during the event

7 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications Negative emotions prevent us from being able to think on our feet. Negative emotions keep us from being willing to enter into the conversation in the first place. Negative emotions block our ability to interpret accurately what is happening. How You Feel about the Event: The Impact of Negative Emotion Negative emotions tempt us to focus on painful experiences of the past or imagined disasters of the future rather than on the realities of the present. NIU “Gateway Event” Strategy #1: Get “Diversity Fit”

8 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications Pairs Activity “In the Grand Scheme of Things” “Gateway Event” Strategy #1: Get “Diversity Fit,” cont.

9 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications “Gateway Event” Strategy #2: Identify Your Goals Identify Your Goals and Ask Yourself…. What do I want to accomplish as a result of this event? We need functional dialogue about diversity and bias, not just noise, and certainly not just conflict for conflict’s sake.

10 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications A Sampling of Goals You have been offended by an act or word: Unproductive Goal: To embarrass the person and make him or her feel guilty for hurting your feelings. Productive Goal: To educate rather then humiliate. NIU “Gateway Event” Strategy #2: Identify Your Goals, cont.

11 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications A Sampling of Goals, cont. You have made a clumsy or ignorant remark that you think might have offended someone around you: Unproductive Goal: To make the event go away by pretending nothing happened. Productive Goal: Demonstrate respect for those around you by calling attention to the error and apologizing. NIU “Gateway Event” Strategy #2: Identify Your Goals, cont.

12 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications A Sampling of Goals, cont. You feel uncomfortable and a little angry because you strongly disagree with the diversity/inclusion views being expressed by your colleague: Unproductive Goal: To keep things smooth by pretending to go along with what is being said. Productive Goal: To show that you respect your colleagues’ abilities to consider other views by voicing your opinion. NIU “Gateway Event” Strategy #2: Identify Your Goals, cont.

13 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications “Gateway Event” Strategy #3: Be Cautious When Assessing Intent The Question Why do we need to assess attitude/intent accurately? The Answer The intentions of the person dictates how we intervene to solve the problem.

14 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications “Gateway Event” Strategy #3: Be Cautious When Assessing Intent, cont. “Intentions are invisible. We assume them from people’s behavior. In other words, we make them up.” Difficult Conversations We make them up according to two factors: 1.The impact of the act on our welfare; 2.Our past experiences.

15 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications “Gateway Event” Strategy #4: Invite Rather Than Shut Down Conversation Don’t Pretend nothing happened. Dismiss the reality of the person’s feelings or right to their viewpoint. “You know what I meant” / “I was only kidding” / “Don’t be so sensitive” “You just don’t get it; you couldn’t possible know how I feel.” NIU Use labels or exaggerated accusations.

16 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications “Gateway Event” Strategy #4: Invite Conversation, cont. Say: “I’m sorry you feel that way, what makes you say that?” Say: “Thanks for telling me, I appreciate it.” Say: “Help me understand.” Say: “I’ll admit I see it differently than you. I’d sure like to hear about your point of view.” Do Say: “I know you didn’t realize it, but what you said really bothered me.” NIU

17 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications “Gateway Event” Strategy #5 Look for What We Share Fear Hope Discomfort Anger Embarrassment Self Doubt Desire for Safety

18 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications “Gateway Events™: How to Turn Diversity Tension into Diversity Dialogue” Northern Illinois University September 23, 2009 Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D.

19 copyright Sondra Thiederman/Cross-Cultural Communications Do not hesitate to contact Sondra with any follow-up questions or issues: Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D , ext. 1 Sondra can be contacted for in-person and Webinar training through: Capitol City Speakers Bureau


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