Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

Lynne Revo-Cohen

Toxic Culture: Workplace Diversity and Inclusion, For Me, or For You?


Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance,” Verna Myers.

By Karetta Hubbard, Lynne Revo-Cohen, Gwen Crider, and Dr. Chris Kilmartin

Gwen Crider, an internationally recognized diversity expert, has been writing about, teaching and implementing successful diversity initiatives for more than twenty years. What follows are her thoughts about the importance of understanding diversity and inclusion both personally and in the workplace.

At the beginning of a training day on workforce diversity and Inclusion, the first question usually heard from participants is, “What exactly is diversity and Inclusion, and what do they mean together?” (or, TO ME? Implied)

What is diversity?

When hearing the term diversity, most people think first of the obvious human differences such as race, ethnicity and gender identity. All of which are correct.

Though, most importantly, diversity encompasses all of the cultural, psychological, physical, and social differences that make each of us unique. In addition to the visible characteristics such as race, ethnicity and age, diversity also includes invisible characteristics such as socio-economic status, beliefs, and values. Plus, it includes differences of thought and life experiences.

Both visible and invisible characteristics of diversity can significantly influence our perspectives, perceptions and actions. As a fact of life, diversity is always present when individuals come together, even amongst people with similar visible characteristics. Consider, for example, two same-sex twins who were raised in the same household, attended the same schools and, on the surface were “identical” to the casual observer. But, one of the twins excels in music, the other in sports; thus, there is diversity among closest of siblings. And, to add to the mix, one is a Republican and the other is a Democrat.  Dinner conversations are always ……..interesting.

In the workplace, diversity also includes different work styles and preferences. Research has shown that diverse workforces result in: 

    • Greater creativity and innovation
    • Better problem-solving
    • Stronger organizational performance and outcomes

So, how do we as different and unique beings bring our “A” game to work, all get along suitably so that our Company products are not only made well, but delivered on time and on budget?

What is inclusion, and can it make a difference?

While it is true that diversity leads to better outcomes, it takes inclusive practices to get to those better outcomes. Because of the different experiences, perspectives and preferences we all bring to the workplace, conflict is a natural occurrence.   Communication styles such as language, interpretation of the same circumstances, and cultural expectations can be barriers to understanding each other. Resistance to change: a new person from a different culture than most in the organization might cause friction; someone new on the team may have other ideas about how the work should be done, causing those that have been in the positions longest thinking that “we have always done it this way, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

To achieve the benefits of diversity, organizations must intentionally work to create and sustain an inclusive environment; one where everyone feels valued, respected and able to bring their whole selves to work.  Inclusion then is a statement about what the workplace looks like when diversity is truly embraced and valued.  

We know that when We feel valued, respected and included, we do our best work and our organization benefits. Forward-thinking workplaces are not content to simply say they value diversity, they actively work to ensure that everyone’s ideas are heard – especially when they “go against the flow.” Though it can initially seem messy, it is from the messiness of diverse perspectives that creativity, innovative and better outcomes are born. With training and practice, diverse employees can learn to work together effectively despite their differences and, indeed, they can thrive. Helping employees learn to practice “both/and” thinking where they build on each other’s ideas rather than deciding only one can be right so the other must be wrong is a pathway to creating an inclusive workplace where the benefits of diversity can be fully realized.   

Remember the twins? They practice problem solving and communication skills every night at dinner. All of these initiatives lead to better insights and creativity.

 Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”  Helen Keller

Next Week Unconscious Bias

Please send your comments to WATExplorer@gmail.com.

Top photo: Bigstock

WAT-CAST – Karetta Hubbard and Lynne Revo-Cohen Talk About Sexual Harassment


The headlines keep coming, forcing another high level executive to resign after women come forward alleging sexual misconduct in the workplace.  Karetta Hubbard and Lynne-Revo Cohen, launched NewPoint Strategies more than 30 years ago and built a reputation for helping corporations deal with serious issues, including sexual harassment and sexual assault. Along with Chris Kilmartin and Gwen Crider, they have been sharing their expertise with our readers in a series called “Toxic Culture.” In this podcast, Karetta and Lynne talk with Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti about a topic that continues to dominate the news. Click to listen.

Top photo: Bigstock

Episode 8: Karetta Hubbard and Lynne Revo-Cohen Talk About Their Series, Toxic Culture


Have we reached a tipping point with sexual harassment? Karetta Hubbard and Lynne Revo-Cohen come to this discussion from a unique point of view. For more than 30 years, they have been advising companies on important workplace issues, including sexual harassment and sexual assault. They have been writing about the topic for Woman Around Town in a series titled “Toxic Culture.” In this podcast, they talk with Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti about how the workplace has evolved since they began their work, how the #metoo movement is forcing change, and what needs to happen next. 

Toxic Culture: Eraser Phrases Can’t Eliminate What Came Before or After


By Karetta Hubbard, Lynne Revo-Cohen, Gwen Crider, and Dr. Chris Kilmartin. 

Dr. Kilmartin provided the powerful phrases in this week’s article. The team filled in the rest …..

“An eraser phrase is a few words placed at the beginning, or end, of a sentence that allows the speaker to abdicate responsibility for offensive and/or prejudicial speech and also reduce the chances that listeners will confront them,” explains Kilmartin.

Fun with eraser phrases! You hear this at the beginning of the sentence. What kinds of things might end the sentence?

At an important meeting that you need to be at the top of your game:

  • Don’t take this the wrong way… 

What’s with the foggy brain today, have a rough night or something?”

But did you mean to wear all black before you discuss positive outcomes for the company’s growth?

  • Would it be sexual harassment if I said…?

Your lookin’ mighty fine in that sweater today…

We need to impress this client, how about you be really nice to him, if you know what I mean     

  • Not to be racist, but…

I dated a black girl/guy once, so I am totally open-minded…

What if I said, “shut up and dribble?” as Laura Ingrahm, talk show host, actually said to LeBron James…

This diversity thing is making it tough to hire the right person…

  • I would never be one to blame the victim, but…

Did you see what she was wearing, give me a break, she was asking for it …

Why’d she meet with him at the hotel?  Talk about mixed signals…

  • With all due respect…

Enough said!  Suggests No Respect.

We’re not done! Eraser phrases can also come at the end of the sentence. This time we’ll write what comes at the end, and you write what you might hear at the beginning.  What have you heard as well?

  • …I don’t mean that in a bad way.

Think about what was said before the other person says this phrase.

Your hair is sooo curly, I shouldn’t be honest? 

Sometimes you are too direct when speaking to others, no wonder people avoid you….

  • …just kidding

You are so dumb around girls, no wonder they won’t go out with you..

  • …no offense

I don’t mean to offend you, but you are dead wrong… 

Has anyone ever told you that you talk too much?

  • …just sayin’

Try not to be so critical, everything is not about you…,

That idea will never work….,

And classics, which can come at either the beginning or the end:

  • Bless her heart!
  • God love ‘em.


At the beginning of the article, Chris asks the reader to have “fun” with these eraser phrases. If you have an answer to one of these or more, please send to us. If you have one to add, please do! Each remark or comment contributes to the conversation, which is the key to understanding and culture change. Please send them to WATExplorer@gmail.com and we will publish them. Thanks!

Top photo: Bigstock

Toxic Culture:  When Does Individual Opinion Become Collective Wisdom?


By Karetta Hubbard, Lynne Revo-Cohen, Gwen Crider, and Dr. Chris Kilmartin

After each article we ask for comments from readers, and interestingly, receive many responses representing various opinions.

The following represent individual opinions that taken together represent the conversations occurring across America.  Note the different perspectives, but especially the commonalities. Please feel free to answer each question if you choose, and we will post those too.

Reader No. 1:

Great piece as always. You may want to write about generational differences in this issue. Had lunch with a publishing colleague and we were swapping notes. She told me that the 30-somethings in her office were militant, but the 20- somethings were not. And I agreed! I had a discussion with some 20-something women this past weekend who felt that the whole issue had just become a trend that would pass soon.

I worry that the deeper more critical issues are being lost in everyone wanting to have their own trendy #metoo moment in the light.

It might be interesting to see what your reader base sees in their communities and workplaces on generational differences.

By the way, no reason on why the older millennials are more militant than their younger peers – or their older “sisters”. Thoughts?

Fascinating stuff.

Reader No. 2: Thanks for sending this which I read with interest.  I have fingers crossed for long term improvement. Going forward, I think a challenging moment will arrive in about three to five years when there will have been significant turnover in these organizations, but the urgency of this moment will be in the distant past. What will happen then? I surely hope the changes of this moment will endure then!

Reader No. 3: I once wrote in my now defunct blog, an issue entitled “The Forgiveness Factor.” It was an attempt at rationalizing for those knew what they knew, and when they knew it, but don’t tell. It’s about sexual misconduct, but it’s also about all of what’s wrong, when something is going wrong. Think Enron.

Who’s next?… rumor has it that Matt Lauer was “doing” his stuff for many years, but the NBC morning ratings are VERY important to network earnings…so live and let live…until you get caught…or until public opinion was too strong to ignore. Now of course Lauer is gone, disgraced, wife divorcing him, having to live on his savings…and a few Execs lost their jobs, but they waited until the pressure cooker of public opinion blew the lid, so to speak.

Of course, the big “whale” a financial industry term, is Harvey Weinstein, in the entertainment industry. Now let’s get something clear here. I was a little kid, barely able to speak when I listened to the radio and learned of Hollywood’s jokes about the “casting couch.” I don’t think there is an American who hasn’t heard that expression. Somehow it was always said in jest…There was never a visual in those days…no starlet ever said out-loud, “Gee, I got the part because I had sex with Mr. Louis B. last night…”

It was a big joke, probably with 99% truth to it. There was no forgiveness factor needed because in the eyes of the American public men and women had their own roles, and nobody was offended that a starlet might have had a romp on the casting couch. What was to forgive?

Then the world changed. Civil Rights, Equal Rights, Women’s Rights, Sexual Preference Rights…et.al…  and when the rules changed the cuteness of the casting couch became the battle of “rights” and “law” and harm and threat. So Harvey, you opened up a great big door through which you could drive a proverbial tractor-trailer truck. Women who said NO…others who knew and allowed it to happen for profits (yes, Harvey, like others you made a lot of very profitable movies and made a lot of money and had a lot of influence)…women who were demeaned, threatened, embarrassed, changed their careers, …for your ego? For your influence?

So now there are a million stories in the press…many are legitimate, blasts from the past, 99% accurate…and they get men to quit their jobs, or not get elected (BRAVO ALABAMA), or in the latest event to get fired (Bye, Bye, Steve Wynn).

But… I have a concern…   seems this all applies to famous people in high profile jobs.

What about all of those nameless, faceless Male and Female Americans who need our culture to change in order to have a voice…who is attending to that?  If a 50 year-old woman said that her postman abused her 30 years ago…what’s her recourse…what factor was operational for her 30 years ago? Who would have listened?

There has been a tiny change…but we need a Sea Change…led by a government and business that supports these valueswithout a FORGIVENESS FACTOR…honoring the rights of all peoples…who have all varieties of preferences…and where YES means YES and NO means NO. And finally, where the rule of law applies equally to all.

We welcome your thoughts and comments. Each contributes to the conversation which is the key to understanding and culture change.

Please send them to WATExplorer@gmail.com and we will publish them. Thanks!

Toxic Culture: The Significance and Damage of Victim Blaming


By Karetta Hubbard, Lynne Revo-Cohen, Gwen Crider, and Dr. Chris Kilmartin

Dr. Kilmartin wrote and provided the powerful thoughts in this week’s article.  

One of the questions asked by outside observers of sexual harassment or assault victims is, “Why did the person take such a long time to come forward to talk about the incident?”

An excellent question.  A prevailing thought is that, “If this happened to me, I would have spoken up right away and taken care of the SOB.”

Not so fast, at least until you have walked in someone else’s shoes. Labeled “Victim Blaming,” this belief is holding the target of maltreatment or violence partially or wholly responsible for their own victimization.

Victim blaming is a psychological security operation.  “If I can find one thing that the victim did, and attribute the maltreatment to it, and I avoid that behavior, nobody will victimize me.”  

For sexual harassment or assault, Victim Blaming is rampant and an unconscious strategy for dis-identifying with the victim.  Common versions of victim blaming include the attributions that a woman was mistreated/assaulted because:

  • She is immoral.
  • She has poor judgment.
  • She accompanied the offender to the site of the attack.
  • She consensually kissed the offender and/or flirted with him.
  • She drank too much (people attribute more blame to a victim the more they are told that she drank; people attribute less blame to the offender the more they are told he drank).
  • She dressed provocatively.
  • It’s easier for her to “cry rape” than to look like a slut.
  • She liked it at the time but regretted it the next day.
  • She didn’t struggle or say no (up to 40% or more of assault victims show a “tonic immobility” or “freeze” response, which is an involuntary brain response rendering them physically unable to resist or speak).

Rose McGowen, the first woman, and well-known actress to bring rape charges against the now infamous Harvey Weinstein, described exactly this response.  She writes in her recently published memoir, Brave, “I did what so many who experience trauma do, I disassociated and left my body. Detached from my body, I hover up under the ceiling, watching myself sitting on the edge of the tub, against a wall, held in place by the Monster whose face is between my legs, trapped by a beast. In this tiny room with this huge man, my mind is blank. Wake up Rose; get out of here.”

Victim blaming is fueled by the Belief in a Just World: the belief that people get what they deserve.  It is a denial that sometimes bad things happen to good people.  Again, this belief maintains a false sense of security.  If I think of myself as a good person, nobody will victimize me.

Examples of Belief in a Just World (alternative explanations in parentheses):

  • A person is poor because they are lazy (as opposed to disadvantaged).
  • A person is rich because they are smart and worked hard (as opposed to being privileged and inheriting wealth).
  • A person needs extensive dental work because they haven’t taken good care of their teeth (as opposed to having a biological predisposition for dental problems).

When we encounter evidence that the world is not a just place, we either act to restore justice or maintain our belief in a just world and thereby blame the victim.

When people describe assaults in passive voice and/or language that focuses mainly on the target of maltreatment, victim blaming is more likely.  For example, in the sentence “she was attacked,” the person who attacked her does not even appear in the sentence.

Victims often become adept at blaming themselves for the same reason.  If I do not do that behavior again, I will be safe.  Many times victims become experts at blaming themselves and do not need help from others.

Many times, victims are seeking support from friends, family members, professionals, but if they are punished for their experience(s), the trauma and ultimately the ability to recover quickly, if at all may not occur.

We welcome your thoughts and comments. Each contributes to the conversation which is the key to understanding and culture change. Please send them to WATExplorer@gmail.com and we will publish them. Thanks!

Toxic Culture: Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light


By Karetta Hubbard, Lynne Revo-Cohen, Gwen Crider, and Dr. Chris Kilmartin

Many readers responded to the GREEN Light, YELLOW Light, RED Light guidelines (see the story) to identify the differences between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. All asked for more examples. 

We are familiar with the colors that everyone identifies with; Green Light – Go; Yellow Light – Caution; Red Light – Stop.  

The following scenarios describe potential harassment situations that might occur in the workplace. Using the traffic light analogy, consider these scenarios and the questions that follow asking for your thoughts in response. Tell us how you scored these vignettes, and we will publish them. The correct answers are posted below. 

Before you read each scenario, please consider:

  • Is there inappropriate behavior?  

If so, is the behavior(s) RED, YELLOW or GREEN Light? 

  • Most importantly, consider what would you do in this situation?

Case Scenario 1

While at work, Nina frequently makes personal phone calls to her friends. Her conversations are loud and generously sprinkled with foul and obscene language. Her co-workers in nearby cubicles cannot help but overhear her conversations.

What is the inappropriate behavior, if any? Is it green, yellow or red light?

Yellow Light  Foul obscene language is Inappropriate; however, the behavior can move into red light if the language becomes sexual in nature.

Case Scenario 2

Mihai persists in asking his co-worker Maria out to dinner, even though she turns him down each and every time he requests a date. She has told him several times to stop asking.

What is the appropriate/inappropriate behavior, if any? Is it green, yellow or red light?

Red Light because she said no, and he didn’t stop asking her to dinner.

Case Scenario 3

Alexander frequently tells sexual jokes during team meetings. Lilia is offended. She doesn’t think Alexander’s jokes are so funny.

What is the appropriate/inappropriate behavior, if any? Is it green, yellow or red light?

Yellow Light  It is inappropriate to tell sex jokes during team meetings; if infrequent may not rise to level of hostile environment unless really offensives such as “rape” jokes.

Case Scenario 4

Suzanna and Haik are co-workers who enjoy a great working relationship and just recently have started dating. They can’t seem to get enough of each other. They take breaks and lunch together and are often seen flirting in the break room. They are clearly infatuated with each other.

Is the appropriate/inappropriate behavior green, yellow or red light?

Yellow Light The bystanders are harassed as well. It is always inappropriate to be flirting at work. Plus, it is unprofessional at the least, and distracting at most.

Case Scenario 5

Timur and Olga, travel together on a week-long business trip. In the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel, Timur snuggles up to Olga and tries to hold her hand. Olga strongly objects, and Timur backs off.

What is the appropriate/inappropriate behavior, if any? Is it green, yellow or red light?

Red Light, as Timur has created a serious hostile work environment: unwanted touching.

Case Scenario 6

Anton is Director and has hired Rosa, just out of graduate school, as his assistant. After a few months on the job, Anton caresses her back and suggests to Rosa that if she shows him some “real appreciation” he might be inclined to promote her. Rosa refuses and is fired two months later for no good reason.

What is the appropriate/inappropriate behavior, if any? Is it green, yellow or red light?

Red Light, as Anton makes an implicit Quid Pro Quo offer. The offer does not have to be explicit, just implied.

Case Scenario 7

Andrei: Well let’s see, next order of business for the meeting here today is the new hire, Rita. She is hot. I just hired her a couple days ago. Have you guys checked this out yet?

Mark: Yeah, good job Andrei.She has the longest legs I’ve ever seen.

Elena: In reviewing Rita’s application, and as an assistant, I see that I hired her for her computer skills, and her typing speed, and not her appearance or body measurements.

Andrei: Elena we realize that. All we’re saying is she’s a qualified individual but she just happens to look very nice and we’re commenting on that.

Mark: I don’t see any harm in that and I, for one, look forward to seeing her on a daily basis.

Elena: Why are you guys talking about her as if she is a piece of furniture or a decoration? What on earth do her looks have to do with how she does her work for this company?

Andrei and Mark: Well, we’re just a bunch of guys, I mean it’s normal guy stuff. Men talk about these things, as do women sometimes.

What is the appropriate/inappropriate behavior, if any? Is it green, yellow or red light?

Strongly yellow, because Mark and Andrei are creating a hostile environment against Elena. Note: Andre and Mark are depersonalizing Rita, i.e, would you make the same compliment for a man? These comments are unprofessional and inappropriate in the workplace, and create a hostile work environment for Elena.

Key Points to Remember

  • Any conduct or behavior that has a sexual innuendo or suggestion is considered YELLOW Light; and if unwelcome, can easily lead to RED Light If the behavior becomes pervasive and persistent.
  • YELLOW Light is not strictly prohibited; but, it reflects poor judgment! It is often inappropriate behavior in the work place.
  • When someone is engaging in YELLOW Light behavior, and you find it offensive, embarrassing or uncomfortable, you can help everyone by asking the person to refrain from such behavior, if you feel safe in doing so.
  • When someone asks that you refrain from YELLOW Light behavior in their presence, it is important that you respond to that request respectfully and promptly, and that you honor that request.
  • RED Light behavior is quite serious. And, should come to the attention of management. If you don’t feel safe reporting the behavior, you can ask a colleague who can be an Ally, to report RED Light behavior to someone in management, and management will address the behavior.
  • When a supervisor becomes aware of a YELLOW Light situation, the supervisor will inquire into the circumstances to determine whether any further action is appropriate. The supervisor should also consult with senior management about the incident. Document the incident, and your actions to try and remedy the situation.
  • When a supervisor observes or hears about RED Light behavior, the supervisor must take immediate action to stop the behavior, and immediately notify senior management about the incident. After the matter has been investigated, serious disciplinary action will normally be appropriate. Management must also take all reasonable steps to remedy the situation and prevent its reoccurrence.
  • We don’t want YELLOW Light to occur; If enough YELLOW add up, they could add up to RED
  • Aspirational goals: Not just compliance; we want a workplace that is fully respectful.

Since 1984 the founders of NewPoint Strategies, Karetta Hubbard and Lynne Revo-Cohen, have built a strong reputation for delivering extremely effective prevention training in high-risk issues such as sexual harassment/assault.  Contributing Author and Lead Consultant, Chris Kilmartin, Ph.D, Emeritus Professor of Psychology from the University of Mary Washington, is an expert in Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention, specifically Male Violence Against Women. Gwen Crider is a Diversity Expert. For more information, go to the website for NewPoint Strategies.

Toxic Culture: He Said…..She Said….She Didn’t Say…They Said…


By Karetta Hubbard, Lynne Revo-Cohen, Gwen Crider, and Dr. Chris Kilmartin

Many readers wrote to ask our thoughts regarding the article in Babe, an online magazine interview with “Grace,” the fictional name of the young woman who had a date with comedian Aziz Ansari.  Without repeating the numerous accounts of the evening already posted in the press, and without assigning blame, it occurs to us that The Issue is about how to have Crucial Conversations.

Our sexual harassment/assault practice has taught us that most men and woman want to do the right thing. But right now, in this real time moment, the fear of doing the wrong thing, saying or acting inappropriately far outweighs taking any action at all.  We are hearing that men are reticent to ask women out on dates, that when on a date, women are leery of saying what they actually feel or want, sometimes fearful they will offend their date.  This goes for both men dating other men and women dating women.  Another unintended consequence is that both men and women in the workplace are afraid to mentor younger employees for fear of offending the mentee.  Also, we hear from both men and women that they are simply “scared silent!”

Often, we are taught that being right is important.  We equate being heard with being right and often expect the automatic acceptance of our position by the other person. Ever play ‘telephone’? If so, you know that the phrase you began with and passed along to the next person, when passing through the lips of the last person, is not only not what you said, most times it is hysterically different.    

The same phenomenon can occur between two people as among ten people. When we think the other person isn’t paying attention and/or we don’t feel heard we tend to push harder.  What happens next?  The person receiving your information may shut down, may change the subject, ignore your thoughts or resume his/her position before the conversation began.

So, how to begin the Crucial Conversation? 

1. Some ground rules and simple suggestions. 

  • First don’t assume that you are right and the other person is wrong No one is ever right or wrong on every issue.  Conversations take place so each side can express their thoughts and feelings.   Each side can listen, learn and state their opinions. 
  • Decide at the outset what you want from the conversation.  What is the best outcome for you?  If you don’t know, then state this, and explain that your hope is that what you want will become clearer as the discussion takes form and substance.
  • Agree to disagree. EVERYONE sees the same situation through their filters, and not every filter results in the same perspective.
  • Agree that each person will be able to finish talking before the other one jumps into the conversation. Acknowledge periodically that you hear the other person’s point of view. You may also want to ask them if they understand what you are trying to say. 
  • If the conversation doesn’t go the way you would like, take a pause and continue at another time after you have again thought through your preferred outcome.

2.   Beginning the uncomfortable Conversation in workplace situations. (Noting these techniques can be used in personal circumstances too.) Using eye contact and begin with one of the first two approaches: 

  • “I have something I would like to talk with you about, do you have time to talk?”
  • “I would like your help with an issue that is bothering me. I would like your feelings (perspective) about this too”. 

Then launch into specifics:

  • “When you touch me, it makes me feel uncomfortable (and/or you could say I am tense, embarrassed, uneasy).”
  • “I had different expectations from our relationship.  I prefer to keep it professional  (and/or, to respect our work space; and/or to continue to enjoy working on our joint projects).”
  • “When you refer to women in a disrespectful way like “that bitch” it makes me feel nervous, (or angry) and I’m not sure how to respond.  How about when we are together you avoid saying stuff like that?  I would really appreciate it.”

3.  Successful Outcomes:

  • Know why this conversation is important to you. You may have to repeat the reason to the other person several times.
  • Listen to what is important to the other person. Ask him or her to repeat it if you need to understand fully.  Once you do understand what he or she wants, then be sure you can adjust your desires with this goal, and/or can accept it.
  • Curiosity killed the cat or so they say.  However, when listening to the other person, curiosity can be your best friend.  Learn as much as you can through these dialogues. Remember you can always end the conversation if the outcomes don’t suit your desires. If the other person changes their behavior in the way you asked, remember to say thanks, that you appreciate being heard.  Same thing if you make a “slip” and offend someone else and they tell you it offended them; no need to defend yourself in a long dialogue of what you meant, just say you are sorry and thank them for telling you.
  • Most importantly, you have crossed the divide into productive dialogue, and can continue to use these suggestions to your benefit.  If this is a relationship you want to continue, problem solving solutions with the person is the next best step. 
  • Practice, practice, practice. 

The preceding is based on Kilmartin, C. T. (2017).  Male allies to women.  In J. Schwarz (Ed.), Counseling women across the lifespan: Empowerment, advocacy, and intervention. New York: Springer.

1 2