Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training: It’s everywhere, thank God. What took so long? Nothing’s more important than for each person to be seen, known, and valued for their authentic self. But how do we get there? Sure, we can define the terms, we can discuss the how-to’s of deep listening, unpack the research on empathy. And we should. But there’s a first step I fear we’re missing, and it’s a simple, open-ended question that invites each person to step forth with their authentic voice: What’s your story?
The power of story: it’s everywhere. From marketing and branding initiatives to every leadership webinar, we’re told to know our stories. But that’s not enough: we need a guide. Most of us don’t know how to uncover our authentic voices. The result? We spew facts and figures when meeting someone new or trying to sell a product even though we know story is 22 times more effective in forming connections. Tell me about the hurdles you’ve faced, the times you’ve turned back and forged ahead, the times you’ve persevered, and the times you have not. Now we’re getting somewhere.
> Register for the upcoming webinar: Discovering and Standing in your Authentic Voice
But I’ve gotten ahead of myself: you cannot convey those stories until you know them yourself. And this is where the Authentic Voice method comes in: I teach people how to meet themselves on the page, how to record those stories from emotion, not from intellect. I guide people to reveal not what happened to them, but how they felt about it and the effect of the journey. If we choose to share these stories, we can take understanding and empathy to unparalleled levels.
So the next time you’re asked to attend a DEI training, I hope you’ll reply, “Yes. Absolutely. I’d love to.” But can we each begin by answering the simple question, “What’s your story?” A note of caution: just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. But there’s no more valuable question. After all, if I don’t know the forces that have shaped me, what foundation do I have to step into your shoes?
Written by Jennifer Dohr