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Featured Videos

Gateways to Inclusion:

Turning Tense Moments Into Productive Conversations

In a diverse workplace, tense moments can occur. When handled properly, they can be transformed into ‘gateways’ that lead to better working relationships and increased understanding.

Runtime: 17 Minutes
  • DVD, USB or Streaming
  • Leader’s Guide
  • Participant Materials
  • PowerPoint Presentations
Key Learning Points:
  • Improves teamwork and productivity by showing how to effectively handle diversity-related tension
  • Enables organizations to expand existing curricula in the areas of diversity and inclusion
  • Models respectful communication–a key competency for today’s workplace


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 are things that can lead people to feel hurt, embarrassed, angry or resentful. But such negative encounters don’t have to stay negative. When handled properly, they can be transformed into “gateways” that lead to better working relationships and increased understanding.

Diverse workplaces—because they are diverse—can be mine fields of misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and even conflict. Left unaddressed, these events undermine working relationships, hurt morale and diminish productivity. But, when dealt with effectively, they can provide extremely positive breakthroughs. That’s why Dr. Sondra Thiederman calls them “gateway events”.

In this video program, 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. But, to make this work, people need to talk to one another.

The program provides 4 immediately applicable skills that will turn tense moments into productive conversations:

1. Manage How You Feel

2. Set Productive Goals

3. Assess Intent Cautiously

4. Communicate in a Way that Demonstrates Respect

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

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.