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Fried Training Talk- Harassment Training?

Published: Friday, April 16, 2021


Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to observe some socially distanced instructor led Harassment Prevention training. I listened as people came in. In about half the classes someone would make the joke, “I don’t know why I’m here, I already know how to harass people.

It is an easy joke, but it also pokes at the issue of effectiveness. Most people at least think they know what harassment is, and most people know they shouldn’t do it. Most people even have at least an idea of what the consequences of harassing someone can be.

It made me think about how angry (not without reason) some people would be if the training started off as something that really did talk about the “Best ways to harass people, and get away with it.”


This would be an approach full of danger. It could lead to people who have been harassed in the past feeling unsupported and possibly even traumatized. It could also lead into conversations around Diversity & Inclusion issues and how certain groups are more often targets of harassment.

This past week I began working on an online version of this training, taking the standard approach of interactively showing what harassment is, how it hurts businesses, and what businesses get out of a harassment free workplace, but there is a part of me that feels I am missing an opportunity.

How do feel about the risks of taking a radical approach to training something like Harassment?

What is the best way you ever saw the topic of Harassment addressed?

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I feel risk taking in training is not a bad thing. The best way I have ever saw Harassment addressed was with a live Improv Theater performance. 900 employees watched real life scenarios play out right before their eyes. At the end of each scenarios the actors stayed in character and the audience came up with various solutions with the help of a facilitator.
The great thing was that the scenarios came from the audience.
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Rhonda the live improv sounds like a great approach. I think the opportunities in the follow up could be really effective.
I agree with you that risk taking can have great benefits in training, my worry in circumstances like this is that they can also lead to doing damage to someone already feeling victimized by harassment. I could certainly see where "play acting" might come across as minimizing the problem (though I do not think it is),
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