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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Thomas

Big Change - Small Acts of Inclusion (50 Fun Things® session with The Diversity Institute)

Updated: May 24, 2020

Early this year, I was invited by The Diversity Institute to be part of a workshop they were conducting for Jewish Family and Children's Services MN. Malissa Stanton Adams, co-founder of The Diversity Institute set the stage by guiding attendees through The Impact of Diversity Without Inclusion. For the closing activity and to set next steps, I facilitated Big Change - Small Acts of Inclusion using 50 Fun Things® as a tool. The groups generated way more the 50 ideas! See which ones speak to you and then take action on them.

The list below is a compilation of the ideas the groups brainstormed together.

To make it easier to skim, the ideas have been organized into general categories of actions (many could easily be in other categories):


  • Express sincere interest in a person's life

  • Greet people using their name

  • Introduce/connect people to each other and let them know why

  • Connect people within your numerous social circles

  • Extend cool invitations

  • Accept cool invitations

  • Invite a friend to take a class with you

  • Ask people what their favorite thing is about themself

  • Walk around the office more connect with people/visit someone on first floor

  • Bring a frisbee to work, find someone to play with

  • Ask someone to go for a walk/go for walks with people/lunch group walk

  • Ride together to meetings

  • Have individual conversations with everyone on my team about what they need to feel they belong

  • Laugh or make someone laugh

  • Ask people about their day

  • Participate in activities that attract diverse folks

  • Be open to hanging out with people outside your usual social circles


  • Talking with team about how inclusion impacts work and goals

  • Choose not to stay silent on an issue or topic you’re passionate about

  • Affirm when something happens in someone’s community

  • Have open conversations to learn more

  • Learn something new about a different culture

  • Ask open ended questions to invite conversation and welcome story

  • Check in with yourself at the end of each day

  • Supporting and buying from minority-owned businesses

  • Talk to your kids or family about your experiences

  • Making connections outside of my team

  • A half sheet on how to respond to call-ins without defensiveness

  • Utilize “ouch” and “oops” exercise (a tool taught by The Diversity Institute)

  • Asking for feedback

  • Ask how to wish someone a good holiday or what to say for a tragedy

  • Start meetings with check-ins

  • Give explicit permission at beginnings of meetings to meet our needs

  • Encourage people to shoot their shot

  • Comfort people and sadness

  • Offer and be willing to receive help

  • Forgive someone not kind to me

  • Be more appreciative

  • Listen with intention to others as they tell me about themselves

  • Make time to learn how to be more aware and a better ally on my own

  • Golden Rule: Treat everyone how you like to be treated (with respect)

  • Sit by someone I don't know well in meetings

  • If I hear a micro-aggression talk to the impacted person to find out how they want me to support them

  • Question WHY? My first thought

  • Not be quick to anger

  • Notice my own defensiveness around these issues

  • Walk humbly and bravely into new and unfamiliar spaces/places to learn

  • Meditate and pass it on

  • Ask a coworker if they are okay

  • Understanding and learning cultural nuances

  • Learn names of coworkers

  • Go out of my comfort zone

  • Be more quiet/active listening during conversation

  • Continuing this conversation

  • Respect

  • Being aware of greeting people when out and about

  • Address people the way they would like to be addressed (e.g. pronunciation, nickname only if they want to be called by a nickname, pronoun, title)

Group time:

  • Start a book club

  • Movie club/movie time

  • Find ways to connect people around common interests

  • Volunteer projects

  • Shout outs (e.g. thanks co-workers for starting a crochet club)

  • Gather with others with similar interests (e.g. through MeetUp), learning a new language, gain cultural awareness, philosophy, adventures, activities)

  • Attending community events (and invite coworkers)

Communing with food/beverages:

  • Eat lunch among other people

  • Potluck

  • Cultural potluck

  • Friday donut day

  • Spicy snack tasting

  • Pizza party

  • Cooking contest chili and baking

  • Tea exchange

  • Bring a fun coffee extra such as syrup, creamer, a few K cups, disposable cups for the coffee station to share

  • Have coffee with new people and catch up with long-time coworkers

  • Happy hours with new staff

  • Have coffee or lunch together

  • Buy lunch for a coworker


  • Smile and say "hello" with a smile

  • Share things of interest you know about going on in the city

  • Share/coach a new skill

  • Shadow someone else

  • Sharing “pro tips” for work short cuts

  • Learn to do something new together

  • Share things that bring joy (e.g. colorful gel pens)

  • Have fun with coworkers

  • People sharing pictures and stories from trips

  • Share a fun song

  • Each person share a favorite song

  • Funny story hour

  • Celebrate together

  • Coloring books

  • Invite new people to meditation

  • Be interested in other people's lives


  • Communicate “great job” or other positive comments.

  • Give specific, authentic compliments

  • Accepting compliments

  • Random email compliments/send emails to people to show appreciation/Send emails to people to show appreciation

  • Send thank you notes for acts of inclusion

  • Be gracious

  • Thanking people not traditionally labeled as leaders for their leadership

  • Writing and mailing/giving thank you cards/notes

  • Thank you notes to team members

  • I "love" you notes (express what you appreciate about them)

  • Say nice things behind peoples backs (and to their faces)

  • Discourage gossip

  • Thanking for support with a unique twist

  • See the beauty in differences

  • Tell people thank you more often

  • Practice random acts of kindness

What ideas will you take action on to be inclusive? Consistent small acts of inclusion can lead to big positive change.

Are you looking for a fun, transformative workshop or speaker to leave you attendees feeling empowered and excited? Here's how to contact me about bringing 50 Fun Things to your next live or online event!

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