Inclusive Communication and Conversation (Online)
Taught by Jen Brown
I’m Jen Oleniczak Brown, the Founder of The Engaging Educator. In 2012, I was wrapping up a degree in art history at City College, and I realized that I strangely missed doing improv.
It had been part of my life since I was 15, and I missed the quick on the spot decisions, the heightened reality and the practice! I was working in museums with non-actors and my bosses kept telling me how good I was at pivoting and rolling with the audience, as well as how great my public speaking skills were. A quick whim got me to list a few public classes online, and turns out, a lot of people struggled with flexibility, quick thinking, responding in a thoughtful manner, active listening and more – cue The Engaging Educator.
Over the next few years, I saw more and more connections to improv and communication skills – specifically active listening and responding, as well as public speaking, improv and interpersonal skills – specifically empathy and connection. All of these new connections went into class development, which is actually one of my favorite things to do. You see, one of the founding principles of EE is the idea and importance of continuing education, and that isn’t just for you, it’s for us! Our curriculum and guiding ideas are always changing. Over the past few years, we’ve taken our public classes and workshops and leveled them up to online programming with Skillshare, learning materials through the Center for Creative Leadership’s Improvisational Insights Card Deck and a book, Think on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu Communication Skills, with McGraw Hill Education, released November 8, 2019.
EE doesn’t stop with our classes and materials – we’ve grown the idea to a women’s collaborative collective in Winston Salem, NC called Fearless Winston Salem, last year I coached 100 Women for 100 Hours and am currently working on projects to help moms, encourage women to take their space, and a nationwide women-owned business directory that is free to use and be part of, leveling the playing field for all women.
Understanding yourself as a communicator and person is key to a truly inclusive and diverse workplace. Interpersonal understanding, inclusive, equitable, and assertive language, and active listening are all critical for success. That success can't happen in the moment of tension at work or in professional situations for the first time - it needs to be dug into, workshopped, and struggled within a safe space.
In this workshop we will focus activities on interactions that seek understanding, the idea of responding versus reacting, building a sense of belonging, development of emotional intelligence, and open, honest, and respectful communication (even during moments of disagreement, conflict, and boundary upholding!).
This class is a great step in your path of inclusive communication - this is not a "fix-all" - rather an add to your toolbox.