How to Apply Diversity Skills in & Out of the Workplace

... Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Diversity skills are useful strategies and techniques that help us to understand and deal with people who are not like us. Effective interaction requires a receptive attitude, a degree of sympathy, active listening, and broad awareness of other cultures, values, identities and perspectives. Using and practicing these skills can enhance communication resulting in increased understanding and motivation. With an open mind and willingness to reach out to others, you’re well on your way to successfully applying diversity skills anywhere you go.

Avoid stereotyping people. Recognize personal biases to help you think and converse with an open mind.

Act with respect towards others and seek similarities to overcome barriers. Find and focus on topics of similar interest in your conversations with other people.

Listen enthusiastically to other people’s perspective. Engage people in dialogue by showing your interest and asking questions.

Actively recruit diverse group members to a workplace discussion panel. This method of inclusion can help shed light on issues that not only affects employees, but may also reflect similar views and perspective of the community. You can then reform company policies, advertising and marketing strategies to better serve your customers and improve product sales.

Broaden your social circle. Strike up a conversation with people who appear different from you. Bookstores or markets are perfect places to meet people in an open area. Just be yourself. You may develop friendships, or perhaps even start a book club, or food club.

Learn about other cultures through language, food, or the arts by taking a class. Increasing awareness can help develop your character, broaden your experience and even improve your comprehension of world events. Your job performance can benefit when you have a more comprehensive understanding of your clients or patients.

Visit another country for a cultural adventure. Learn about the history of another country and then go for a visit. Immerse yourself into the culture, eat and dress like the locals. Meet local people and demonstrate your ability to interact openly with dignity and respect for others.

Practice communicating. Effective communication and the understanding that it brings helps everyone to express their ideas and realize it’s okay to be different within the context of respect for others.

Erin Moseley is an advocate for science education. Since 1985, she has written numerous technical, user and training manuals for major corporations, public agencies and universities. She holds a Bachelor of Science in geology.