As a tangible concept, diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) is an essential principle in any thriving and harmonious society. As event planners, we strive to create inclusive environments, to build spaces that celebrate and embrace people in all their glorious diversity. By putting DEI at the heart of our events, we not only enhance the attendee experience, but also play an active part in shaping a more inclusive and equitable society. This blog explores the many practical ways planners can champion DEI to make a positive impact on their attendees and the wider world.
Cultivate a Diverse Team:
Embracing diversity starts with your team. A diverse team — one comprised of individuals from contrasting backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and perspectives — ensures that a wide range of ideas are effortlessly included in your planning process.
Identify the Purpose and Audience of Your Event:
Before beginning your planning process in earnest, it’s crucial that you understand both the purpose of your event and your chosen audience. Conduct surveys, gather feedback, and use this data to identify their specific needs and preferences.
Inclusive Language and Communication:
Language plays a significant role in creating an inclusive environment. Choose inclusive pronouns, promote gender-neutral language, and be mindful of cultural sensitivities. Use accessible materials and media — such as providing information in different languages or in alternative formats — to ensure that your event is accessible to everyone.
Collaborate with Diverse Speakers and Performers:
Speakers and performers are the face of your event and so it makes sense to collaborate with individuals of diverse perspectives and backgrounds. These varied voices will bring unique insights and experiences to your event, something that will help to enrich its content and messaging.
Accessible Event Venues:
Select venues that are accessible to everyone. Ensure that your location has ramps and lifts as well as accessible toilets and seating areas. Remember: accessibility isn’t just about compliance, but about creating an inclusive space for all of your attendees.
Consider Dietary Preferences and Restrictions:
Food is an integral part of every event. When considering your catering, bear in mind diverse dietary preferences and take care to offer vegan, halal, kosher, and gluten-free menus as well as a vegetarian option.
Establish an Inclusivity Policy:
Develop a clear and cohesive DEI policy for your events. Take the time to share this policy with your team, your vendors, and your attendees in order to set expectations and create a positive atmosphere. Encourage post-event feedback on your policy and be open to making improvements based on any received comments.
Diverse Entertainment and Activities:
Incorporate a wide range of entertainment and activities that appeal to an equally diverse range of interests. From cultural performances to interactive workshops, a varied entertainment programme ensures that attendees can engage in experiences that resonate with them on a personal level.
Offer Scholarships and Reduced-Fee Tickets:
Consider offering scholarships or reduced-fee tickets, something that can help to promote greater accessibility and diversity at your event.
Create Safe Spaces:
Last but not least, foster an atmosphere of safety and respect. Implement a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, harassment, or offensive behaviour. Train your team to handle sensitive situations with empathy and professionalism.
As event planners, we possess the power to shape experiences and leave lasting impressions on attendees. By consciously incorporating and championing DEI at each and every event, we can create environments where all individuals feel valued, respected, and welcomed. After all, embracing these principles not only enriches the overall event experience but also contributes to building a more compassionate and harmonious world for all.
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