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Nicola Cockayne


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Designing a Diversity Training Course – Any ideas for exercises/delegate input


Has anybody got any ideas for getting delegates involved in a new Valuing Diversity training course I'm putting together, please.    It's a one-day course aimed at all within the organisation to show how a rich, diverse workforce is something that benefits everyone. 

Lacking inspiratoin - any ideas gratefully received, thanks.

10 Responses

  1. Tapestry

    Hi Nicola

    I’m thinking a giant tapestry that can be displayed in your reception area…similar to the Overlord Embroidery they have at the D Day museum in Southsea.

    Each culture creates a section and as a whole it will create a very positive visual image.

  2. Diversity

    Hi Nicola,

    The first way that comes to mind to engage delegates in thinking about Diversity is asking questions, such as:

    "What does "Diversity at Work" mean to you?" Or, in your words, what comes to mind when you think of a "Diverse Workforce"?

    I know this is quite basic but if one of your aims is to show how a diverse workforce benefits everyone, you will have to make sure that Diversity means the same thing to everyone. Some data or stories of how Diversity has benefitted organisations or the workplace might also help to engage those attending.

    In my opinion, the more you can lead on example with this one – ie encouraging diverse opinions, the more useful it will be for everyone involved, especially if you need buyout on strategy or if you are trying to change the mindset of those attending.

    It is also worth bringing up examples of when a diverse workforce does not benefit everyone if not managed/used to its full potential (I recommend Makind Differences Matter: a new paradign for managing diversity by D Thomas and R. Ely HBR Sept-Oct 1996) and for a reminder that "putting differences to work is a critical skill" see How to put our Differences to Work by Debbie Kennedy – Leader to Leader Spring 2009.

    I hope THEY will inspire you if I didn’t!

    All the best

    Pilar Orti

  3. Create an exercise around differences
    Group A are only allowed to answer in the negative.

    Group B are only allowed to answer in the positive.

    Group C have freedom to decide whether to be positive or negative.

    Set an open tutor led quiz with questions like:
    How diverse is our workforce?
    How do managers support workplace diversity?
    How well do we demonstrate our diversity to our customers?

    The answers are put on flipcharts and the groups present back in A, B, C order. The plenary should focus on how easy/difficult it is to be positive/negative; how the balanced Group C presentation is most realistic (and it will be), can Group B’s response ever be realistic, how far does Group A’s presentation reflect the workforce, etc.

  4. different views…..

    I saw a presentation a couple of years ago which I thought was brilliant…the presenter used different images which were interpreted in different ways by different people; for example a picture of a cricket/locust

    ~to some people it is a pet to be cherished

    ~to some people it is a pest to be exterminated

    ~to some [people it is a delicacy to be eaten dipped in honey

    I’m sure you can expand on this with a bit of thought…..or even

    come on Trainingzone…what other options can we suggest?


  5. Following on from Rus…

    Hi Nicola,

    Following on from Rus and his crickets, one exercise I successfully ran involved writing headings on a number of flip charts around the room, for example, ‘old people’; ‘the French’; ‘young people’; ‘brummies’, etc, etc.  Basically any ‘group’ that people can identify with.

    Ask the group to write on a post-it one word or phrase that comes to mind when they hear the word(s) on the flip chart.  Usually got a nice wide range of stereotyped responses which could be debriefed in a number of ways.

    Also, depending on the focus of your sessions, I’d recommend seeing if you could get hold of a copy of The Eye of the Storm / A Class Divided.  Whether you use it or not, it’s an interesting film in this field in my opinion.




  6. Diversity Training

    Some really good ideas here – especially the CRICKETS which will dove tail with cultural awareness

    We have one of the UK’s top trainers in equality and diversity. He has given me 5 ideas you might like to try:-


    • Turn yourself into the Daily Mail for 20 minutes.Create some headlines about diverse Britain from your perspective
    • Group Two -speculate what the Daily Mail group will produce.Get your killer facts together
    • Group Three – Get people to list their prejudices – eg men who wear white socks with suits or cold telephone callers. Then take people through how we all have prejudices and how it’s about managing them if you are not to face legal and economic consequences(losing staff and customers and volunteers etc)
    • Group Four – Do a demographic quiz on the post code where the training venue has been arranged
    • Group Five – Get people to define and quantify the PINK,BROWN,GREY,POLISH ££££££s etc etc

    Good luck



  7. Diverisity training exercise ideas

    A big thank you to you all for your fantastic ideas!


  8. Femi Otitoju online session: How to make your diversity training

    Here is a link to Femi Otitoju’s online session she did back in June on how to deliver effective diverstiy training sessions.…make-your-diversity-training-sessions-more-effective

    Hope this helps




  9. Diversity Exercises

    1) As an opener – telling the "Building a House of Diversity" story – the elephant & giraffe

    2) Depending on the age span  of the group and how well you know them. – Aski participants to bring  a photo of themselves (when they were teenagers) -which you put up and then the rest of the group match them to the person today. (Lots of fun and laughter – seeing how people have changed – reveals stereotypes, pre-judgements conscious and unconscious biases, etc

    3) One of the simplest exercises that bring no end of discussion and debate about differences, norms and exectations.Write on a card – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Tea, Supper – and get the individuals to allocate a time for each meal for them , and what they eat at each mealtime.

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Nicola Cockayne

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