Event Inclusivity: Some Quick Words
Today I jumped on a Zoom session that focused on inclusivity in the workplace and beyond. It inspired me to write this piece because when we plan events, it's easy to get so zoned in on the logistics, marketing, etc...that somehow it's still easy to forget one of the most important challenges when running an event:
Inclusivity is neither a trend nor a fad, so let’s take the time to talk about inclusivity at events.
Fight Your Unconscious Bias
Every time you make a decision about your event, consider the individual needs of people from a range of ages, religions, disabilities, gender/gender identifications and ethnicities. This goes to the heart of forming an effective diversity event policy.
- If your speaker is non-binary, are you aware of the pronouns you need to use when introducing them?
- Do you have an equal or fairly equal balance of men and women on your stage?
- If your event is in-person, are all aspects of the venue wheelchair accessible?
- Is there captioning for virtual events available for those hard of hearing? Likewise, does your event require sign language interpretation?
- Consider the length of time participants might be required to stand, and provide seating for those who cannot stand for long periods.
- Use inclusion in all marketing materials with appropriate language and images.
When It Comes To Registration
Consider putting a statement such as this available for people to answer:
“If you require an accessibility-related measure (e.g.: sign language interpretation, captioning, accessible parking, specific dietary requirements, or any other accessibility-related measure) please contact _______ (name, phone number, email address, etc.).”
Understanding and balancing your event to the best of your ability shows your respect for your guests, attendees, and even your team. And speaking of your team, when possible, use a diverse group of individuals for the organization of the event in order to provide balanced views.
All of this said, sometimes you just can't meet all of these requirements. I've had to use venues that aren't wheelchair accessible due to various circumstances and then there were times people didn't let me know they would have liked a sign language interpreter. Hence the registration questionnaire. Like anything in life, just do the best you can.
I hope this has helped and thank you for reading along. You can reach me here if you'd like to chat. I'd love to hear your events and how I may be able to help you!
Event Consultant, Certified Virtual Event Coordinator and Amazon Best-Seller