Do your diversity and inclusion programs have blind spots?
Meetings can help make positive change towards the community and environment, as well as bring together attendees capable of making the world a better place. But once the perfect venue, great accommodations and transport for a great event have been sorted, there’s still some vital attendee needs that aren’t always readily apparent. Here’s some tips to ensure that your Diversity and Inclusion approach makes everyone feel welcome and included – not to mention some blind spots it’s easy to overlook.
The tip of the iceberg
Diversity Intelligence (DI) is a vital part of any event, is best viewed as a Diversity Iceberg where only the tip is visible above the surface with many other considerations existing beneath the waterline of visibility. While it’s easy to take steps to prepare an event for the differences we can easily see – age, race and gender – there’s a world of invisible points that also require consideration. Taking special care to create a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ population, speakers of different languages, and views both political and religious is just a start to ensuring everyone feels welcome.
Incorporate inclusion every step of the way
Think beyond just what you can see and prepare your event for the needs of your attendees through questionnaires and open communication channels in advance. By showing this effort beforehand, your guests will feel included before they even arrive – and you’ll have your bases covered from the outset. Follow the lead of events like Montréal’s Startupfest (and their Inclusion Initiative which offers discounted tickets for those with different budgetary constraints) with specially designed operatives to open the door wide to all.
When it comes to ensuring that those with special accessibility requirements are able to fully enjoy the event like all other attendees, it’s also important to consider those whose needs are also not instantly visibly recognizable. Taking steps to create a workable and safe atmosphere for the deaf, blind and even chemically sensitive will let the attending members of those communities experience all aspects of the event equally. Above all else, it’s extremely important for your crew to respect everyone’s independence – and by creating a space easily navigated by all who enter, you’re guaranteeing that independence remains unchallenged.
Diversity in the kitchen
There’s much more to think about than just allergies when it comes to food served on-site, and nut, gluten and other allergen-free options are becoming standard fare at events of all sizes. But there’s other sensitivities to keep in mind, like ensuring those who keep Halal or Kosher are offered what they require at meal times. With some groundwork, finding a Halal or Kosher caterer is simple – some even capable of providing separate kitchens to avoid contamination with foods that don’t fit the standards. They say that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and the same can be said for keeping your attendees happy and well fed to their expectations and custom.