Gateways to Inclusion: Turning Tense Moments into Productive Conversations


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Gateways to Inclusion: Turning Tense Moments into Productive Conversations is the new diversity and inclusion training video featuring Sondra Thiederman, one of the nation’s leading experts on workplace diversity, bias reduction, and cross-cultural business, the Gateways video shows how painful and disruptive diversity disasters can be, and offers simple tools to help your people turn these uncomfortable situations into productive conversations.



In today's diverse workplace, tense moments occur. When you hear something offensive, when you’ve said something wrong, when something you say has been taken out of context... these situations can lead to hurt feelings, embarrassment, anger, resentment, and much more. But these difficult encounters don’t have to remain difficult. If handled properly, these uncomfortable situations can be transformed into “gateways” that lead to better working relationships and increased understanding. Dr. Thiederman explains that opening such a gateway to conversation—and holding it open, rather than slamming it shut in fear or anger—has immeasurable benefits.

Through a series of vignettes, your team will learn:

  • How to manage the emotions that can arise in the face of diversity-related tension
  • How to set productive goals for various types of gateway conversations
  • Why it is important not to jump to conclusions about intent (and three strategies for assessing intent accurately)
  • How to communicate in a way that demonstrates respect and encourages further conversation

Opening that gateway to conversation – and holding it open – rather than slamming it shut in fear or anger has immeasurable benefits. But to make this work, we need to talk to each other. This video package provides four immediately-applicable skills that will help you turn these tense moments into productive conversations. Those skills are:

  • Manage How You Feel
  • Set Productive Goals
  • Assess Intent Cautiously
  • Communicate in a Way that Demonstrates Respect


Gateways to Inclusion is a flexible package that can be used in short or long training sessions. The program can stand alone; or, if you wish, it can be easily integrated into your existing diversity and inclusion curriculum. In addition to the main workshop, the package includes a 45-minute Refresher Workshop to solidify the program's skills and provide more opportunity for practice. It includes a bonus 4-minute video scenario for discussion.

The Gateways package includes the chaptered DVD with the 17-minute main video plus 3 important Extra Features:

1. Gateways Main Video, 17 minutes
2. FAQ with Sondra
3. A Quiz
4. An Extra Video Case Study to inspire further conversation

The DVD is fully chaptered and includes subtitles in English, Spanish and French Canadian.

The Gateways CD-ROM has the comprehensive training materials in PDF format:
1. Leader’s Guide
2. Participant Handouts
3. Quiz Guide Sheets
4. Note-taking Guides
5. Identifying Respectful Phrases Handout
6. Post-Test Handout
7. PowerPoint presentation
Furthermore, the Leader's Guide outlines a 90-minute training session and also a 45-minute refresher workshop that you can use to deepen the learning.  DVD has English, Spanish and French Canadian subtitles

The video is beautifully shot and brings you right into struggles that real people have in workplace encounters. Starting with a montage of experiences that people have in the workplace, "I guess they didn't get my joke!" to "The meeting was so tense, I didn't want to say anything," to full stories about tense moments. The video leads the viewer to have questions about the tense moments they've been a part of. Then Sondra's commentary delivers guidance. As you deliver the training, you'll have access to the comprehensive Leader's Guide that includes the transcript of the video.


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