Events these days are extremely diverse in nature, in many ways. Right from the topics discussed, elements that adorn the venue to the crowd that shows up at these events. Most importantly, events have to be inclusive towards people, irrespective of their age, gender, race, sexuality, interests or anything else.
Here, we list a few ways in which you can make your next event more inclusive and welcoming for your attendees, irrespective of how diversely colorful the palette:
1. Ask each attendee what they need:
Have a detailed section on the event website which talks about how your event is going to be high on inclusivity and accessibility, and keeps it open for the attendees to add their inputs on what they expect in this area. Your willingness in going that extra mile and asking what they need is very important. What’s more important is listening to it and acting on it. Anyone who marks a special requirement, make sure someone from your team connects with them on a call and gets to know their details thoroughly. Be it a sign language interpreter or a mobility device, if they need it then make sure you have made the provision at the event site.
2. All five fingers are different and so is every attendee:
Every attendee is different. They understand and grasp content in different ways and at different speeds. So make sure that however easy or complex your content, however light or heavy it is…it should feel easy and light for every attendee. For example, for someone who is not a native English speaker, even if they converse fluently in the language, they may not quickly understand what an American native is saying. For such attendees, captions are important so that they are in sync with the speaker during the session.
3. Work with the venue and presenters prior to the event:
Event planners generally understand requirements around wheelchair access, but there are a few layers on top that organizers need to consider while planning an event. Part of that is talking to speakers about their presentations and visual assets and establishing a style guide for font sizes and contrasts so that viewing the content is not hassling for a reader sitting in the front row or even right at the back of the arena.
4. Be an inclusion rider:
Inclusivity is not merely about taking care of the disabled; it is a lot more. Your event must welcome people of different races, cultures, sexual orientations and economic statuses. If a person has registered and shown up at your event, they must feel welcome and safe during their time there. You have to ensure that people aren’t harassed or assaulted for their personal choices of dressing in a certain way or anything else. Moreover, there’s a need for gender-neutral restrooms and private rooms for breastfeeding. Prior planning done meticulously can help planners look at varied details that attendees will truly appreciate.
5. Make these discussions commonplace:
As an event planner, and especially if you’re heading a team, you must discuss what all you plan to offer to your attendees in terms of inclusivity and accessibility. You must take the onus and say, yes, this is what we must do and this is what we must thoroughly plan and execute. And, make a set of guidelines the team must adhere to, so even with the change of venue and crowd size with each event, you only add to or subtract from the set list and do not have to work on it from scratch.
6. Closely consider how emerging technologies can help:
Last but surely never the least, technology! Look at how various technologies can improve these issues in the future. There is a list of things that can simply be done technically and then there is a list that needs to be taken care of socially. This way, everyone walks away happy, and isn’t that what we want as event planners? Yes, we do!