Engage people in ways that
open their minds to change

Wednesday, May 17, 2023  9:00-11:30 a.m. Pacific / 12:00-2:30 p.m. Eastern

Presenter: David McRaney

About session 3

“The need for action is urgent, but the road ahead will not be easy. Achieving racial equity will require the challenging work of changing hearts and minds along with policies, practices, systems, and structures.”Washington Employers for Racial Equity

Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accessibility have become core values in many organizations, but not in all. And not everyone in any one organization agrees or accepts these core values. Part of the work in developing your practice of equity and inclusion is to be competent in having conversations with people who disagree.

This session emphasizes having impact on other people. It will focus on how minds change and how you can be more effective in helping people change their minds about DEI. You will learn the psychology that explains “how people modify and change their beliefs, attitudes and values, and how to apply that knowledge to whatever you believe needs changing, whether it’s within one mind” or a great many. A key question that will continually guide you is, “Why do I want to change this person’s mind?”


Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this session, participants will:

  • Gain a deep understanding of the power of cognitive empathy and how to apply it in difficult conversations with those who hold problematic or harmful attitudes.
  • Discover how to engage with people in moments of disagreement that are most likely to persuade them to consider other perspectives and, in some cases, truly change their minds.
  • Learn how minds change, that is, how they go from believing or feeling or interpreting something in one way to seeing things differently, and what factors lead to that sort of change.
  • Realize why everyone, ourselves included, so often resist updating our priors and changing our minds, and why that is more likely in some contexts and for some subjects than for others.
  • Determine how to work around resistance to change during conversations, and how to use that knowledge to avoid dead-end debates, angry dismissals, and fruitless arguments.

About the presenter

A two-time winner of the William Randolph Hearst Award, science journalist and lecturer David McRaney is author of the international bestseller How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion, ranked best self-help book in 2022 by the Washington Post.  He’s also author of You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself  and You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself.
A self-described psychology nerd, David is fascinated with brains, minds and culture.  Through podcasts and blogs, he spent the early part of his career interviewing scientists who study the psychology of reasoning, decision-making and judgment “to get a better understanding of self delusion and motivated reasoning.”
David has also been a newspaper reporter, editor, photographer, voiceover artist, television host, journalism teacher, lecturer and tornado survivor.  He worked for several years as the head of digital media for WDAM-TV, where he produced The Green Couch Sessions, a TV show about the music of the Deep South.
After finishing How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion, he wrote, produced and recorded a six-hour audio documentary exploring the history of the idea and the word “genius.”
He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and can be found at https://www.davidmcraney.com and youarenotsosmart.com.
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