How to Be Inclusive at Events

Let’s start by defining diversity:

Diversity means more than race and ethnicity – it includes gender, physical abilities, age, and more. A diverse event allows for a variety of ideas between attendees and connects different perspectives and paths, which is what leads to more dynamic conversation. Organizing a diverse event fosters dynamic conversations and encourages more attendees. We listed down easy steps to help you plan for diversity at your next event.

Plan for a Diverse Speaker Panel/Entertainment

When organizing a speaker panel, always consider the spread of diversity. For example, panels tend to be predominately male as discovered by The Bizzabo where almost 70% of speakers around the globe are male. 

Set your goals, if you’ve had a lack of diversity in the form of your speakers at your events it may take a while to achieve your goal of a completely diverse line up, but it’s important to show progress. Look back at your history and see what previous numbers have looked like and you can build your goals, ensuring that diverse speakers aren’t just clustered in one area and are across the board at your event. 

Look for speakers beyond your personal network. Find individuals whose voices are typically underrepresented in your topic area and find relevant professionals who represent affinity groups (e.g. African American female engineers, LGBTQ computer scientists, Veterans small business associations, etc.). 

Include Gender Prefixes

Displaying gender prefixes or pronouns on name cards are as important as the name itself. This is important for attendees to properly address each other and foster a comfortable environment. Though this practice is less commonly used, it’s important to adopt it to allow for LGBTQ+ representation in events. You can even include these prefixes in registration forms by adding a “Mx.” Prefix. 

Prepare Widespread Catering Options

Offering varied catering options is crucial for inclusiveness in events. This can be easily implemented in registration forms by adding a field for diet. Since there’s an increase in dietary constrictions such as veganism, your attendees will benefit immensely with a widespread food option. This also includes offering non-alcoholic drinks at your event as people may not enjoy a bar full of 20 different alcohol types and only water.

Book Accessible Venues 

Finding the perfect event location may be a difficult process, so it may be common to put accessibility into consideration. This means having venues that are wheelchair friendly or offering shuttle services if your venue is in a remote location without public transportation options.

There still needs to be more effort put towards having an inclusive event as it may seem easier to follow traditional practices. But it’s important to focus on highlighting diversity and inclusion as it pays off immensely within attendee’s participation and[1]  the quality of the event itself.  The important thing is to reach out to the groups that you are trying to include and doing the relevant research. If you need help with adding diversity for your next event, contact getinspired@emc3.com