Learning to talk, to listen and to learn

ByJoanne Lockwood

Learning to talk, to listen and to learn

Iain believes that the “Why of D&I” is quite simple. Everyone should be given the same opportunities and feel included and be encourage to open their eyes, to talk, to listen and to learn.

Iain is a 54-year-old heterosexual white male whose wish is for everyone to just be able to be themselves. He is aware that these characteristics put him in a privileged position, so he was worked hard to raise his own awareness on the topic of diversity and inclusion.

Published Published: 02.12.2021 Recorded Recorded: 12.11.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:07:15 Downloads Downloads: 88

Whilst growing up Iain’s parents did charity work; his mum working for the Samaritans, which exposed him to lots of people he didn’t know, experiences which he thinks moulded him into the person he is today. Despite this background he still used to be worried about getting into difficult conversations for fear of getting it wrong, although he came to realise in order to get to know people you just have to be willing to make the time and effort and ask questions in a kind, non-judgemental way, you just need to be prepared to listen, learn and understand.

Part of the issue that many organisations faced during lockdown was how to keep everyone connected and ensure no one is missed from the conversation. Within Iain’s workplace they started a program of events to get colleagues together in a safe space where they felt comfortable to share stories, allowing conversations that many had not had the confidence to join in with previously. It gave people permission to learn and normalise conversations on subjects that are often considered taboo. The impact for Iain, on an individual level is that he can then recognise what other people are going through in his private life, for example having learnt more about the menopause he feels he can recognise and offer support to his wife who is experiencing this at the moment.

Iain believes that many people are naturally culturally curious, but you do have others that are not interested and it is with these people that Iain feels you need to choose your battle, deciding whether you want to be drawn in to a potential argument. He is aware of this, as a regular at sporting events, he often hears opinions being expressed that within another setting he would challenge. His advice is to try and keep conversations on perspectives and the ‘why’ they hold the opinions they do, rather than making it confrontational.

With the advances in technology, we have become so used to communicating online, often using abbreviated terms, that the art of face-to-face conversation is dying out. Communication in this way is also prone to misinterpretation, where our choice of words or punctuation can be misconstrued. Both Iain and Joanne tend to use emojis in their messaging to express how they are feeling, clearly showing if they are happy/sad etc.

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SEE Change Happen: Transgender Awareness & Inclusion