by Tammy Hughes

When I’m conducting workshops, participants will occasionally ask, “Wouldn’t all of this diversity training be unnecessary if we all just started practicing the golden rule?” Great question… so let’s explore!

The Golden Rule tells us to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This rule would work just fine, if we were all carbon copies of one another….but the reality is that we’re not. I prefer to use Claire Raines’ Titanium Rule from her book, Connecting Generations: Sourcebook for a New Workplace (Crisp, 2003) which tells us to do unto others keeping their preferences in mind. The awareness that the preferences of others may not be the same as ours is the first step in the learning process. The second step in learning is to consider where others are in regard to the gender bell curve, shaping our message and delivery to best suit their preference. The way we fashion our speech, body language, and written communication can be much more effective when we sift our message through the filter of “their” preferences, giving thought to how they might best hear the message, information, or question.Often, the most effective method, considering the style of the person with whom you’re dealing, is not your natural style or personal preference. We must resist going on auto pilot, and doing what works best “for me,” in order to become the most effective communicators and get the needed results. Just think about it….the benefits are endless if people have a genuine understanding of what we’re communicating or asking of them. Not only will we discover an increase in results, but also the pleasure of noticing a decrease in frustration.