During the Meeting

Discussion

Everyone has a unique perspective. During the meeting, ask questions that encourage open, honest dialogue and generate further questions. Questions with yes or no answers may discourage dialogue. Encourage participants to share their views.

For example:

"Think about a time in the workplace or in your personal life where you experienced language that was not inclusive. It could be something said to you, something you said, or something you heard. You won't have to share this, but what was it and what did you feel?"

Consider hypothetical workplace scenarios to stimulate discussion.

Learning Agreement

Talking about respectful workplaces can be uncomfortable. To clarify your meeting's intent, create a learning agreement at the beginning of the meeting.

A learning agreement is a list of guidelines - for example, turn off cell phones, respect the opinion of others, encourage inclusive language and so on. Guidelines build trust, which allows people to talk openly about uncomfortable topics.

At the start of the meeting, write the agreement on a flip chart or whiteboard. It can be referenced throughout your meeting.

Learning agreement options

  • Option A: Share pre-written guidelines and ask for further suggestions
  • Option B: Start with a blank flip chart or whiteboard and ask participants to create the agreement

Icebreaker

Start with an icebreaker to engage the audience.

Icebreaker Example

Ask everyone to find a partner to talk about respect. For a larger group, divide the audience into groups. For 10 minutes, participants discuss

  • What does respect mean to you?
  • What does it mean to show respect?

After the allotted time, ask everyone to return to their seats and open the discussion with questions such as:

  • What ideas did you discuss?
  • Did everyone have the same definition of respect? If not, what does this mean?
  • Has your understanding changed about how your peers would like to be treated?

Capture the key points on a flip chart.