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Polarizing Conversations – How to Talk About Triggering Topics by Achieve Centre for Leadership

August 8, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

This is a live virtual event using Zoom, an online meeting platform. Please check your system requirements prior to

(10:00 AM – 01:00 PM CDT )
Do you want to learn how to maintain relationships when discussing potentially triggering issues? Many people find themselves ill-prepared for these conversations and, as a result, avoid them or feel overwhelmed when they’re happening. This workshop equips you with skills for managing your own emotions and understanding the various dynamics of having polarizing discussions so you can confidently ensure they are productive and respectful. This is helpful for talking about things such as gender and equity, race relations, environmentalism, the pandemic, and remote work. No matter where you might have to discuss a polarizing issue, this workshop teaches you to do so in a way that will leave everyone feeling heard and respected.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the nature of polarizing topics on ourselves and others
  • Identify our natural emotional responses to challenging interactions
  • Utilize listening and validation to reduce tension
  • Demonstrate how to set up conversations for success and make people feel safe
  • Practice skills to engage in conversations about polarizing topics

*Please allow only the registered individual(s) to view webinar materials

Method of Delivery

Presentation, case study exercises, experiential practice, and personal reflection, delivered electronically.

Some of the Topics Included

  • Understanding the Dynamics of Polarizing Topics
  • Our Natural Responses to Challenging Interactions
  • Preparing for the Polarized Conversation
  • Depersonalizing the Conversation
  • Finding Common Ground
  • Utilizing Empathy and Validation
  • How to Help People Feel Safe
  • Engaging in a Respectful Conversation

Target Audience

This is an introductory-intermediate level workshop applicable to both employees and managers.

Trainer: Kristen Deuzeman

Kristen is an Organizational Psychologist who specializes in psychological assessments. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa, and her graduate work at both the University of Ottawa and Concordia University. In addition to training with ACHIEVE, Kristen is the clinical director for a psychological services agency where she supervises a team of clinicians and works with clients suffering from burnout, anxiety, PTSD, and workplace conflict. As a leader, she believes that continuous development and self-awareness is essential to one’s ability to serve others. As a trainer, Kristen combines her experience in organizational psychology and clinical work to enhance self-discovery and skill development for participants. She is a passionate facilitator who uses warmth and humour to create engaging and meaningful workshops. Read blogs written by Kristen here.