Imagine the scenario outlined below. Please note this scenario and the characters described have been created as a learning tool for reflection and analysis as part of this E-learning course. It is not intended to reflect any actual persons, living or dead, and any resemblance to any actual persons or situations is purelycoincidental.
SCENARIO: The Presentation
Your colleague Stephen, the only person of colour in the company, comes to you after delivering a presentation in a meeting. Stephen appears to want to discuss something that he observed, which has been weighing on his mind. Stephen tells you, “No one mane any eye contact with me in the meeting. Even though it was my presentation, they ignored me and started asking Brad (a white co-worker) for all the answers instead.”
After considering this scenario, have a go at responding to the reflective prompt questions below. We encourage you to write down your responses (or record in another method of your choice). Writing or recording your experience can help to clarify and consolidate your thoughts and feelings.
How do you think Stephen might feel after that experience?
If you were present in such a meeting and noticed this happening, how would you feel?
What do you think you might say or do after Stephen shared his experience with you and why?
In such a situation when a colleague appears hurt or upset by something that has happened, it’s important to demonstrate empathy and to actively listen to the person.
Sometimes we may feel compelled to interrupt or jump straight into action in an attempt to fix the situation and avoid any discomfort. Taking this course of action however can only add to the problem by denying the person the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. This is called “action bias” (the tendency to favour action over inaction).
After listening to the person, it can be helpful to ask them what they would like to see happen, and to refer to and utilise existing company procedures to seek support or report concerns.