design and facilitation, training, diversity, equity, inclusion
Diversity training,  Facilitation and Design

Design & Facilitation 101: Find New Ways to Engage Participants


“I’m planning my first training session and am searching for a way to get employees enthusiastic about attending and participating. This seems like the hardest task to accomplish!”


I bet you can relate to that statement – I know I can!


When Training, Avoid the “It’s Always Been Done This Way” Trap

You want to be a catalyst for meaningful, sustainable organizational change – and you’re enthusiastic about taking the lead in diversity, equity and inclusion training.

You see yourself as being the go-to person and you’re up for the challenge.

But you remember past training seminars: indifferent, apathetic outlooks stifled any enthusiasm for new learning and group interaction.

Uninterested and blasé attitudes can dampen any session, but don’t get discouraged. Plan an innovative route and pilot your training ship successfully to port!


“Instead of letting your hardships and failures discourage or exhaust you, let them inspire you. Let them make you even hungrier to succeed.” -Michelle Obama


Turn Basic Training into Engaged Training

Overuse of the same-old, same-old teaching styles is a common trap.

Let’s face it: when employees hear the words “educational seminar” or “mandatory training,” they want to head for the first exit door. Few among us can say that we’ve never had a training session that was less than successful. In the words of Dr. Brené Brown,


“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”


You’ve got to more experiential and engaged in your training sessions. Get your creativity on!

Even before you plan your inclusion training:

Begin by conducting a thorough needs assessment to discover:

  • what participants are seeking to learn
  • how participants want to learn
  • what problems they perceive in the organization
  • what skills people want to learn or improve upon

With a little bit of investigative work, you can turn a ho-hum session into an interactive and constructive experience. By bringing the diversity, equity and inclusion training to the interest level the employees are seeking, you stimulate their desire to participate – since you’re including topics that mean something personally to them.

Don’t Just Rely On Teaching. Storytelling Sparks People’s Interest

When compiling a comprehensive needs assessment for your organization, make sure to leave sufficient space for employees to describe in detail specific circumstances where they have experienced and felt exclusion or discrimination. During your session, infuse your own personal stories where it feels appropriate to connect with participants and encourage meaningful dialogue.


The power of storytelling is underrated. According to an article in Harvard Business Publishing,  storytelling:


  • builds communication between people
  • conveys issues such as history and culture that bring people together
  • allows listeners to participate when they relate to something, and allows for more learning as a result
  • can take an unpopular, boring or oft repeated topic and bring new life to it with its personal experience


“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”

-Brian Sanderson


Ready – Set – Empower Your Organization!

Taking the time to ask employees before your training session about their experiences in the organization, their input on shortcomings and/or positive situations, and seeking their insights on meaningful solutions will allow you to effectively create new and engaging teaching styles.

With personal storytelling, specific instances on common microagressions and how to interrupt them can be discussed. Participants feel encouraged to actively engage when they realize that others are experiencing the same issues and the same feelings. Role playing can demonstrate how to effectively respond to difficult situations.

By discovering what employees’ concerns, thoughts, and goals are through a comprehensive needs assessment, you’re able to target your training to their needs.

Learn how to more effectively design and facilitate powerful trainings on equity, inclusion and social justice that motivate and skill-up all employees and leaders at your organization. Explore how my newest course on Design & Facilitation can benefit your organization.

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