Table of Contents
- 1 Why inclusivity is important?
- 2 Ways to make your events more inclusive
- 3 Is your virtual event inclusive in nature?
- 4 Conclusion
The year 2020 saw the rise of virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Forbes, virtual events were up by 1000%. However, the challenge of bringing more inclusivity along with diversity to events remains a challenge. The world was already struggling to infuse inclusivity in events. The rise in virtual events made it harder. However, that must not stop us from striving for inclusive virtual events. Your virtual event can be a step to a more inclusive event scenario. A small step in the right direction is a big one indeed. Let us discuss how we can do this.
Why inclusivity is important?
In simple terms, the concept of inclusion refers to how people feel in a certain place or situation. It denotes the state of being included within a set group of individuals or a community. In addition, it also denotes the idea of equal access to opportunities and resources. Over the years, nations have struggled to bring diversity and inclusion to daily life matters and work fields. Nations have achieved a lot in terms of diversity. Thanks to many iconic movements and activism around the world, diversity is widespread. In the past two decades, we can say diversity has reached all spectrums of human life. So, are we done here? The answer is no. Let us tell you one thing. We are missing a key point here.
We are missing the value and role of Inclusion. Inclusion and diversity go hand in hand. Diversity is not effective if inclusion is missing. Inclusion brings meaning to diversity. It is the driving force behind diversity. As it is famously said, “If diversity is a fact, Inclusion is the action.” Inclusion puts diversity in perfect and practice.
According to Anti-racism activists and author Nova Reid, “Diversity without inclusion is tokenism.”Inclusion gives meaning to our efforts for driving diversity.
Value of Inclusion
Inclusion is of tremendous value for humanity for many reasons. It helps us to mould values for the generations to come. It teaches us to practice empathy. It empowers individuals to function in communities. It is important for all kinds of environment. From families to workplaces, from communities to events. Achieving inclusion must be considered a goal. Inclusion gives a nurturing feel to any place or situation provided. This gives it precedence.
Moreover, inclusion is a set of certain measures, both micro and macro. These can be assimilated well into both professional life and everyday life.
An Inclusive Culture
Any team or organization can adopt an inclusive culture because it ensures absolute wellness. This wellness is contagious. This is a great thing. It nurtures beyond limits. It knows no boundaries. Ponder over it. It will benefit in the long run.
Ways to make your events more inclusive
As we know the value of inclusion now, let us make our way into virtual events. Virtual events are a very different experience. The steady shift to virtual events has brought a sharp focus on how to drive inclusivity to virtual events. Bringing inclusivity to them requires proactive steps. We would help you in creating a more inclusive virtual experience. Let us talk about some way outs. These four key steps would provide you with an active approach to bringing inclusion to your virtual events. You must channel these in a way that must serve the total need for inclusivity in virtual settings.
Use of Inclusive Language
The use of language is very critical when it comes to speaking at a physical event. However, a limited audience would there. On the other hand, the use of language becomes extremely critical when it comes to speaking at a virtual event. Millions are hearing you globally. That is why it is advised to be very careful in your use of language. It can create a positive impact as well. You must ask your presenters and speakers to be inclusive in their language. Make sure that the language in use is not homophobic, sexist, transphobic, or racist. The words you use matter. A single mistake can leave the reputation of the event shattered. Check if there are any disrespectful remarks or terms in usage or being spoken. Keep a strict check on this.
The language here does not only denote the speeches or presentations. Inclusion must reflect your language on your registration forms, marketing, social media, or attendee code of conduct. You must take a comprehensive approach to this.
Look for Sponsors who Practice & Preach Inclusivity
This is a great way to show your potential audience that you care about inclusivity. Look for organizations or companies to collaborate with that preach and practice inclusion. This encourages mutual collaboration and a positive image. Be open about this. Ask these organizations or companies to tell you more about infusing inclusivity. This would be a more responsible and conscious thing to do on your part. This strategy would also kick off your social responsibility program.
Remember, you have a platform. Be vocal about inclusivity, your collaboration with these organizations, and your purpose. Many other companies might follow suit as well. Make sure you preach about the purpose of such collaboration on your social media handles as well. This would drive more engagement and traffic to your platforms.
Arrange an Inclusive Q&A Session
This segment of your virtual event is a great time to infuse some inclusion. Now, be very considerate and responsible in this regard. Make sure you provide your audience with a safe space to open up and ask questions. Remember that the audience might include someone with a visual impairment, or some might have listening issues. Anyone in your audience might have speaking issues such as stuttering. Understand these things. The role of a moderator or a facilitator is pivotal in this regard. He must loudly raise the question or any other topic before getting it to the panellists. Take time to go to the next one. Some people find it hard to gather their thoughts to add a point. The moderator must act kindly and patiently.
Make a Diverse Event Planning Team
This is just like “charity begins at home” If you plan to bring more inclusivity to your event, it must start with your team. Do everything to make a diverse team. More diversity, more ideas, and more hands. The people with different backgrounds bring different skillset too. A diverse team can enhance the overall potential of your team. However, you must instil the notion of inclusivity in their minds. They should know that it is a must ingredient. It would allow them to respect each other’s stances. This would also allow them towards a more inclusive event.
Make the team from females, LGBTQ communities, minorities, etc. Moreover, people who represent different perspectives. This would make you a socially responsible employer as well. Make sure they are known virtually as well.
Bring Diverse Speakers, Presenters & Exhibitors
This is an integral part of bringing inclusivity to your virtual events. Be wise in your choice of speakers, presenters, and exhibitors. They would become the voice of your event. Make sure to pick them from diverse groups. They, in turn, would bring a diverse audience, which would ensure an inclusive outreach and impact.
Go beyond the primitive standards. Invite people from LGBTQ groups, people of color, or people who are differently able. This would allow you to stand out.
Is your virtual event inclusive in nature?
If you had a virtual event or have another one in planning, you must know whether it is inclusive or not. We would be giving you a set of questions. Look into these and check they are already present in your event planning strategy or not. Be honest with yourself. Reflect upon your responses. Let us get to the questions.
– Can attendees with limited tech resources and skills still join my event?
– Is my event ensuring diversity in terms of sexuality, gender, race, age, or more?
– Am I accommodating international attendees?
– Is my virtual event accessible to people with hearing and visual problems?
– Are you learning different personality types and learning types?
These five key questions can help you know that where you stand in terms of inclusivity. Think extensively and look for other ways to ask about it. Involve your team as well.
Finally, we would like to say that thinking you are inclusive and demonstrating are two different things. Make sure you preach it through your virtual events. The world is going through a tough time. We need inclusion along with diversity more than ever. Embed inclusion in your vision and mission behind your virtual event. Make it your culture. Instill it as an innate quality. In this way, it would come evident in your actions, events, vision, and most importantly, your team. Remember, D & I (Diversity and Inclusion) is an ongoing process. If you own it well, it becomes a key part of your team and business as an inclusive culture.