Listen to understand. Lead inclusively.

Globalization and technology have created an increasingly diverse workplace. Leaders must be able to communicate in a way that ensures both comprehension and inclusion with audiences from a variety of cultures who bring different perspectives . However, the strategies to navigate these conversations effectively are not always intuitive.

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Leaders may unintentionally cause offense to colleagues because we are not aware of our own biases, we aren't knowledgeable about potential sensitivities of others, or when in situations where we don’t know what to say so we keep quiet. Inclusive leaders must understand the possible impact of their communication--that insensitivity deflates enthusiasm and that silence also communicates a message. The Inclusive Communication: Fostering Belonging (virtual) program will introduce you to communication skills that will enable you to successfully navigate conversations on culturally-sensitive topics.

Who Should Attend?

Business professionals in middle to senior management across an organization, including Human Resources management, and those introducing or expanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives within their department, business unit, or organization, will find the tools provided in Inclusive Communication: Fostering Belonging (virtual) to be invaluable. Designed for professionals who want to contribute to creating inclusive work environments. this program teaches practical ways to navigate conversations on culturally sensitive topics. Participants will have opportunities to reflect on their experiences and consider ways they can proactively create and cultivate a work culture where teammates truly belong.

More about this program

This is a three-session executive education course based on material taught to Duke graduate business students. It focuses on inclusive leadership and communication strategies, and is open to individuals as well as members of diverse teams that want to contribute to creating an inclusive team environment.

These interactive sessions will include videos, polls, cases, and role plays and serve as a laboratory for you to develop and refine the skills required to demonstrate inclusive leadership. Participants will have readings and video-viewings prior to each class discussion of communications strategies and best practices.

Before each class session, participants should review assigned materials (articles, cases, and videos). These pre-class activities take less than one hour per session. We ask that these be done before the class session in order to facilitate a richer discussion.

To participate in this course you will need to have a working webcam, built in or attached, and have downloaded the Zoom Cloud Meeting app onto your laptop.

If you have any questions about this requirement, call the Duke Executive Education team at +1.919.660.8011 or Toll Free +1.800.372.3932, or email us at

The many upsides of creating a culture where all of your employees can thrive are often overlooked in organizations and even in small teams. Diversity brings an array of benefits, such as increased innovation, improved problem-solving, more productive collaboration, and surfacing of new ideas that otherwise would not have come to light. However, to reap these benefits, your organization needs to maintain and build trust with both internal and external stakeholders. When your employees feel respected, appreciated, and valued, their engagement with their team or with the organization increases as does their commitment to success.

To achieve this, you will need to listen for the values and emotions of your stakeholders, foster open communication about diversity issues, and understand your own, possibly subconscious, attitudes and behaviors, and keep them in check. Inclusive Communication: Fostering Belonging (virtual) is designed to provide you with a set of skills to create an environment where diversity will enhance your team's performance.

Learning Objectives

Foundations for Inclusive Communication

  • Learn how to establish ground rules that create psychologically safe and inclusive environments.
  • Develop tools to engage in meaningful dialogue rather than debate, even if you don't fully understand or agree with the opposing viewpoints.

Micro-Behaviors Contribute to Organizational Climate

  • Understand the impact of micro-behaviors (positive and negative) on team culture and climate
  • Determine and practice effective strategies to address micro-aggressions, respond when you're offended, and deploy micro-affirmations.

Allyship and Language

  • Learn to listen with empathy and convey concern in ways that are perceived as supportive.
  • Determine what allyship means for you and develop strategies to signal you're an ally.


Program Objectives

Over three sessions as a participant in the program, you will take away the following:

  • Learn techniques for facilitating dialogues about diversity
  • Understand the complexity of conversations around culture
  • Recognize a range of micro-behaviors that impact organizational climate
  • Develop strategies for addressing micro-aggressions and deploying micro-affirmations
  • Cultivate the skills to think critically about words and their meaning
  • Be able to demonstrate communication skills required to lead inclusive teams

Sample Schedule

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Session 1

Foundations for Inclusive Communication

  • Establish ground rules for inclusive teams
  • Understand our own experiences and world view
  • Differentiate impact and intent
  • Develop tools for dialogue rather than debate

Session Duration: 2:45 hours

Session 2

Micro-Behaviors Contribute to Organizational Climate

  • Identify the role of micro-behaviors on team culture and climate
  • Recognize Micro-aggressions, how the best intentions can sometimes go awry
  • Determine and practice effective strategies to address micro-aggressions
  • Deploy Micro-affirmations and understand their power and impact

Session Duration: 2:30 hours

Session 3

Allyship and Language

  • Learn to listen with empathy
  • Determine what allyship means for you
  • Signal you're an ally
  • Understand the impact of word choice, language, and pronouns

Session Duration: 2:45 hours

Contact Details

Duke Executive Education
100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0120 USA

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 5:00 pm



Professor Daisy Lovelace

Daisy Lovelace

Daisy Lovelace is an Associate Professor of the Practice at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. She teaches leadership and communication and is committed to creating inclusive teams and organizations. Her professional interests include leadership, inclusive excellence, interpersonal communication, crisis management, persuasion, and influence. In addition to live instruction, she teaches short courses on the LinkedIn Learning platform. She earned her doctorate from the University of Virginia. In addition to teaching at Duke, she has held faculty posts at Indiana University-Bloomington, Princeton University, Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, Korea, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Virginia.

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Certificate Requirements: Attendance to the Duke Leadership Program and three electives within a three year period. More