DEI Training: It’s All About Approach
Updated: Oct 18, 2022
The impact of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training will only be as strong as the buy-in from the hosting organization and its participants. At D5 Consulting Group, we are pleased and humbled whenever we have the opportunity to bring a professional training program that will ultimately help people open their hearts and minds to other cultures, perspectives, and ideals. We know that as presenters, we have an important responsibility to discuss a sensitive topic, and only a fleeting opportunity to make a connection with our audience, getting them to believe in us, and in turn, believe in this critical work. Here’s what your team needs from their trainer in order to feel included, and not alienated:
The right training for the audience
Different industries and workplaces require different types of training and materials. For example, our trainings for school employees look differently than our trainings for police departments. The goal is for participants to become more culturally competent, empathetic, and self-aware, and you need someone who will be a trusted, respected voice to lead these conversations, even when they become uncomfortable. Seek out a presenter your team can relate to, and make sure your training is specifically tailored for them.
A trainer that will talk to them, not at them.
We touched on this point in our most recent blog, “DEI Training: Mistakes Not to Make.” To promote the mutual trust and respect that makes these trainings productive, lead trainer Sam Davis makes it a point to always talk to his audience, and never at them. DEI trainings should be conversations, not lectures. Look for a trainer who works in opportunities to actively engage with participants, calling on them to reflect on their own experiences. For example, one of our favorite activities is to ask our participants to examine situations where they have acted on personal biases, or experienced discrimination or micro aggressions,
and evaluate what can be done better and differently in the future.
To know that they aren’t to blame for their biases
Too many times, we have heard people share that they attended a DEI training where the presenter missed the mark, making them feel shamed or criticized for their previous perspectives and actions. This type of approach only leads to feelings of defensiveness and an abandonment of the work. The overwhelming majority of the time, these people aren’t racist, homophobic, and they aren’t bad people. Typically, any negative thoughts or feelings they carry about people of different races, ethnicities, religions, sexualities and beyond are the result of implicit bias – attitudes that we hold subconsciously, without even realizing it. The truth is that we all carry biases that are potentially damaging, and we all must work to break down the barriers and harmful patterns that result from those biases. Find a presenter who will applaud your people for their courage to have tough talks, help them examine their own biases in order to minimize harm in the future.
We’re here to help you navigate the process. Contact D5 Consulting Group today to learn more about our DEI programs and offerings.