Pam Confer hits Mississippi roads with Harmony Talks, To Go (Unconscious Bias Talks)

Confer speaking at the well-attended Downtown Rotary Club meeting. PHOTO BY JANICE NEAL-VINCENT

By Janice K. Neal-Vincent, Ph.D.,

Contributing Writer,

Confer

On Monday, September 26, 2022, during the 12:00 noon luncheon at the Downtown Jackson Rotary Club meeting held at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, Mississippi songstress Pam Confer set about her new task – Harmony Talks, To Go – with vigor. In her conversational tone, she stood at the podium and engaged the Rotary and their guests who smiled, nodded and applauded.

What Confer had to say seemed appropriate in that the club provides humanitarian service, encourages high standards in all vocations and helps build goodwill and peace in the world.

“People express themselves in different ways. The goal is overall, to be beyond that,” said the speaker.

Confer explained her comment as she referenced relationships within the workplace. Employers pay $64 billion a year because two million employees leave their jobs based upon unfair treatment. It takes that amount of money, she argued, for employers to find a new flock of employees.

As she mentioned the global call for unity, the feisty personality claimed, “The pandemic has forced us to communicate in different ways, [but] harmony can’t wait.”

Confer explained that this new norm has compelled creativity into play like never before. “Conversations we have are all about what’s going on in our lives, and we’re uncomfortable with 11 million things that remain on our minds,” she said. “It is crucial, then, to strive for “life management.” 

A minister from Sharon, Mississippi, said to members of one of his conferences many years ago, “We don’t always see ourselves the way others see us.” Bias was the term that Confer mentioned in connection to this. When it comes to self-disclosure, everyone has what a communication scholar labelled, “a blind self.” What this means is that there is a part of the self that others see about us, but we are unaware of it. An example might be lip smacking after drinking water. Thus, those witnessing the act notice the lip smacking, but the person drinking the water has no knowledge of it.

Confer posed several remedies to communication ineffectiveness within the workplace: (1) have a desire to seek diverse perspectives; (2) capitalize on everyone’s skills; (3) establish a buddy system; (4) challenge the status quo; (5) foster flexibility and learning; and (6) admit mistakes. She asserted that adopting these suggestions would bring greater knowledge and appreciation among persons in the world of work. Thus, whether virtual or in person, “talks work.”

She concluded her talk with, “Mississippi is the most diverse state in the country, and we all are allies of each other. [Building relationships is a lifelong process], and we must realize that we really are beautiful.”

Following her talk, at the request of an audience member, Confer sang Mississippi Beautiful, a song she wrote, produced and recorded in 2017 in tribute to the state’s bicentennial and the opening of the Two Mississippi Museums.

Pam Confer is an international, award-winning bilingual singer, song-writer and speaker. She has deep roots and a smile that can move the world.

Contact Confer @ pam@conferconsulting.com or call 601-918-1994.

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