Challenging Perceptions: Breakfast Seminar at PwC

We were delighted to be asked to create an interactive scenario for a breakfast seminar PwC were presenting for their employee networks on the theme of Challenging Perceptions. The scenario was to help the delegates to talk about diversity with greater confidence, and was delivered at the seminar on Monday 11th April

Working closely with the organisers (Elsa Shaughnessy of the GLEE Network (Gays Lesbians and Everyone Else) and Dara Kirton of the MBN (Multicultural Business Network), Robbie created a scenario set in a fictitious energy company between two employees, Adefunke and Samantha. Adefunke, had made a dismissive remark at an earlier meeting, about a gay woman whose partner had just had a baby and Samantha wanted to challenge her about the remark. The delegates coached Samantha to have a positive and non-confrontational meeting. Half way through the scenario Adefunke turned the tables by accusing Samantha of being rather scathing about a British Asian member of staff. Now the delegates were coaching Adefunke to have a challenging but productive conversation with Samantha. 

We wrapped up by reminding the delegates about their key pieces of advice to the characters, which of course, was really advice for themselves!

  • Don’t immediately go in for the kill – be exploratory
  • Express concern, sound open
  • Have a warm, open conversation
  • It shouldn’t be like an attack
  • Work through the problem together
  • Be collaborative
  • Even if you feel uncomfortable, own the feeling
  • Thank the other person for sharing views on a difficult subject
  • Refer to particular comments that were made, rather than be too general

The memorable session was lively and well received, with attendees commenting that it was ‘super-helpful to be guided through’ talking about diversity, and that that ‘it was actually one of the most uncomfortable training sessions I have ever been in – and that was why it was so useful!’

Published May 2016


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