Open Ended Questions Promote Deeper Discussion
Open-ended questions can be powerful tools to facilitate deeper discussions around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). How can they help promote those healthy discussions? Here are a few thoughts…
They encourage personal experiences.
Open-ended questions invite individuals to share their personal experiences related to DEIB. For example, you can ask questions like, "Can you share a time when you felt included and valued in a diverse setting?" or "What challenges have you encountered when it comes to promoting equity in your workplace?" These questions allow individuals to reflect on their experiences and provide more nuanced insights, fostering deeper discussions.
Help participants explore perspectives and biases.
Open-ended questions enable participants to explore their own perspectives and biases, as well as those of others. You can ask questions such as, "How do you think your background influences your understanding of diversity?" or "What biases do you think exist within our organization, and how can we address them?" By encouraging individuals to examine their own beliefs and assumptions, open-ended questions create space for self-reflection and dialogue, leading to deeper discussions on DEIB.
Uncover root causes and systemic issues.
Open-ended questions help dig deeper into the root causes of DEIB challenges and address systemic issues. For instance, you can ask questions like, "What do you think are the underlying reasons for the lack of diversity in leadership positions?" or "How do you think our organizational policies and practices impact equity?" These questions encourage participants to analyze the structural aspects of DEIB, promoting critical thinking and more comprehensive discussions.
Give multiple perspectives a voice.
Open-ended questions encourage participants to consider and respect multiple perspectives on DEIB topics. You can ask questions like, "How do different cultural perspectives influence our understanding of inclusion?" or "What steps can we take to ensure that all voices are heard and valued in decision-making processes?" By inviting diverse viewpoints, open-ended questions foster inclusive discussions that consider a wide range of perspectives and promote empathy and understanding.
Identify actionable solutions.
Open-ended questions can help generate actionable solutions and strategies for promoting DEIB. For example, you can ask questions like, "What initiatives or programs do you think would effectively promote equity in our organization?" or "How can we create an inclusive environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging?" These questions encourage participants to brainstorm ideas, share insights, and collaborate on developing practical solutions, leading to deeper discussions on implementing DEIB initiatives.
One of the biggest challenges we face is finding the time to deal with multiple and competing priorities, right? But, when it comes to maintaining a culture of integrity, our first priority as a manager has to be making sure all our employees always feel comfortable coming to us with concerns; and when they do, making the time to listen and address those concerns appropriately.
But… it’s all in how we ask those questions!
Use these open-ended questions the next time you are talking with someone to help to further discussions.
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