Inclusive Communication

Diversity & Cross Cultural Communication

Tips for Great Discussion

  • Create a safe haven for participants.
  • Make openness and trust the rule rather than the exception.
  • Encourage, acknowledge, and reward the introduction of new perspectives.
  • Plan the agenda to allow time for concentrated deliberation.
  • Keep distractions to a minimum.

Impasses are often rich and fertile ground for facilitating breakthroughs. Sources of disagreement often fall into one or more of the following categories:

Facts — What did we observe? What happened? What is the 'data'?

Methods — How should we do what we need to do? What processes or approaches should we use?

Goals — What are trying to do? What is the end result we’re trying to achieve?

Values — Why do we believe it must be done in a particular way?

How do you learn effectively from impasses? Try the following:

  • Listen to ideas as if for the first time.
  • Work at being open to new ideas or revisiting ideas already presented.
  • Consider each other’s mental model as one piece of a larger puzzle. Look at the issue from the
  • other person’s perspective. Try to find connections between the different models or work with
  • the group to develop a new model.
  • Ask yourself and others: “What do we need to do to move forward?”


Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R.B., & Smith, B.J. (1994). The fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization. New York: Doubleday.