What exactly is an inclusive conversation in the workplace?
Simply stated, it is a conversation where everyone feels included. During inclusive conversations, no one is sitting on the sidelines, afraid to join in. Co-workers from diverse backgrounds feel comfortable expressing their beliefs, without judgment from others, because differences in people are accepted. Teams where everyone feels accepted are stronger collaborators, building a growth-focused environment.
Incorporate these five SheTek Strategies into your work habits to make inclusive and effective conversations the norm in your organization.
1) Identify Your Own Biases
We all have internalized biases based on how we were raised and where we grew up. Many times, we are unaware of these biases within ourselves and can be surprised when they impact our dialogue. Do a self-analysis to try to identify the internal reactions you have when speaking with others.
You don’t even have to openly discuss your biases; it’s enough to acknowledge that they exist in any society. By making this analysis, you become more open to the potential for biases within others as well, which will give you more empathy in workplace conversations.
2) Adjust Your Speaking Style
Absolute statements, such as “everyone” and “we all,” run the risk of excluding people who have not shared those experiences. People from different cultures from your own likely have had vastly different experiences. End your statements with questions that lead to more discussion and exploration. You need more than facts; values and feelings are just as important!
3) Listen & Accept
When people sense that you’re listening hard and validating their experiences, they will be more open to talking about inclusion. Your natural empathy will encourage your teammates to continue to share their thoughts, allowing great ideas to rise to the surface. Promote open engagement to push your team to be open and unafraid to share their thoughts.
4) Educate Yourself
Sometimes, people may not feel comfortable explaining the experiences they’ve had. Research and educate yourself so you can come to workplace conversations with relevant knowledge. Staying current is a great way to ensure you’re communicating effectively while staying conscious of others.
5) Build Trust
Building trust with your team is key to building a welcoming collaborative environment. Encourage your co-workers to be honest about their feelings and dispel worries about reprisals or consequences. Express that all feelings and experiences are valid and that your workplace is a safe space.
LEARN FROM LEADERS ABOUT INCLUSIVE CONVERSATIONS
Conversations about diversity can be challenging, but the time is right for these conversations to happen. We spend about 30% of our time at work, and if we succeed in building inclusive conversations, we are helping make the world a better place.
The most successful leaders in tech, business, and academia have discovered the secret to inclusive conversations at work, and they are eager to spread the word about how they did it. Some of those leading the way will be part of SheTek’s special International Women’s Day event, Fostering Inclusive Mindsets in Tech, on March 8, 2022, from 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST. You’ll learn how to create the best environment for inclusive conversations based on their real-world examples. Stay after our panel for a tech career-boosting networking session where you can make new connections.
Free tickets for this virtual event are available at https://bit.ly/SheTekIWD.