During the past several years, many people have asked me how they could become diversity trainers in the workplace. And what to keep in mind when delivering workshops.
There is no one way to become a diversity trainer, however, if you have experienced diversity issues first hand or have experienced it on a personal level, then that will give you greater power to connect with people who are attending the sessions. The other way is to attain formal education on diversity issues.
I was fortunate enough to cover diversity issues for more than 25 years in my career in the media: radio, television, print and film. Then again, I experienced diversity issues as I grew up in a small northern B.C. mill town in the 1970s. And then again in my career.
When delivering diversity sessions, here are just several points to keep in mind:
Respect : It is vital that you respect all the attendees, whether they agree with you or not. There will be individuals who think this is a waste of time and resources because everyone seems to get along (from his/her perspective). And get to know different cultures that you may not be familiar with. In addition, learn how to pronounce different ethnic names. There might be people who may have a thick accent or have difficulty communicating, so be patience and make sure their voices heard and respected.
No Jokes : Make sure there are no jokes or derogatory comments made which can often lead to harmful consequences. Here is one rule that I go by…if it is not a compliment then it does not need to be told or heard.
Avoid Stereotypes : People at times have a tendency to stereotype individuals who are from a certain ethnic background. For instance, Asians do well in math or South Asians excel in IT. I am Indo-Canadian and I do not do well in computers.
Inclusive: It is vital that everyone is included, even individuals who are introverted. And others who have difficulties getting their message across in English.