It is true. You haven’t lived until you’ve been dragged on Twitter. Earlier this year, I got invited to do a training on gender intelligence for a local university. I was excited about this opportunity because I am familiar with the importance of acknowledging and leveraging sex differences in the workplace. As a workplace culture enthusiast, it is very important to understand the experience of many different people to enhance employee engagement and relations. This was an opportunity to provide additional, science-backed evidence on the sex differences in the brain and why it is important to address them because women in the workplace often have a different experience from men. My intention was to discuss how those actual sex differences in the brain can manifest in how women show up in the workplace, deal with the social constructs that still exists and how we can best manage certain workplace issues with conflict management.
WELL! I released a description of the session and a few of the responses were not nice. We had many people sign up but one local woman took to Twitter to say that the description was tone-deaf, placed women in a negative light and was not inclusive of binary individuals. My policy is that feedback is a gift and I am always willing to listen, try to understand and better myself in the process. I disagreed with the comments on the description then (and still disagree for many reasons that we don't have to explore here). However, the purpose of this blog is to highlight some actions that I took in that situation that you can take in the future, if you ever have the privilege of getting dragged on Twitter.
The first thing I did was hear the event host out about the situation. She was quite stressed because it reached the Provost's office. I then told her that I would support her in any way possible to resolve the situation.
I continued to meet with leaders of the University and offer some resolutions. Some resolutions included: (1) revising the description; (2) meeting with the local individual; or (3) offering to provide more contextualized information about the session. I was most excited about #3 because Madam Drag-Alot would have had an opportunity to see that the session actually addressed all of her concerns and she was operating in a vacuum.
With permission of the local university, I offered to meet with her again and cleared my calendar one morning to meet with the Keyboard Warrior but unfortunately, she discovered that she had too much to do and didn't understand the purpose of the meeting.
And that was that. She took down her tweet and essentially hid from me when I wanted to understand her more and be understood. I was disappointed but not surprised. Social media conflict management is a slippery slope because it is easy to hide behind a keyboard. The truth is, many people like to take to social media to express themselves. The great thing about social media is that it is a great place for creatives to hear from other creatives, meet leaders that are providing a wonderful service to the world and take up much learnings about many things. Sadly, social media has also stunted our ability to ask clarifying questions because we know think in mini soundbites.
Thus, if you ever go through a similar situation, be sure to remember your PACE: Pause, Ask Clarifying Questions, Communicate and Engage in Joint Resolution where possible. I remembered my PACE and guess what, I had an amazing session with the university. I'm so thankful to use my gift to bless others. Wishing you the best and standing with you.