Lunchtime Workshop Offered Techniques for Open Dialogue

Amber Checky and Heather Checky of Inclusion Counts led this informative Leadership Council Learning event.

Members of the Leadership Council SMC’s community joined us over lunch for a Leadership Council Learning event and learned skills for navigating challenging conversations. 

The agenda for this free, 90-minute, virtual professional development offering was jam-packed. Facilitators Amber Checky and Heather Check of Inclusion Counts began with terminology and context, outlining why some conversations can be challenging. Next, participants were asked to read several statements of position on hot-button issues in the news right now, and the group talked collectively about their observations.

Amber and Heather then outlined several creative strategies for participants to use when embarking on challenging conversations. With practice, these strategies will help open up dialogue in a way that allows for each person to be heard and valued. In small groups, attendees worked with the strategies, using role playing and feedback to practice their skills. 

Feedback from the program was very positive. Participants appreciated having the chance to test their skills, and pointed out how important this work is and also how difficult it can be. 

“I liked all of the suggestions and strategies - so good.” ~ Kim Oliff, School Board President, Hillsborough City School District, Leadership CORPS Class of 2022
“It was great to practice both defending arguments and asking curious questions to someone with a differing opinion. Humbling! I need more practice.” ~ Adam Loraine, City of San Mateo Council Member, District 5
"It's tough navigating difficult conversations. After attending "Conversation Strategies for Challenging Times" and I feel better equipped with frameworks for engaging in productive conversations." ~ Phoebe Venkat, Planning Commissioner/Board Member, City of Foster City

Everyone left with new tools to help them create rewarding conversations during these challenging times. Thank you to Amber and Heather of Inclusion Counts for a wonderful Leadership Council Learning event!