From large, legacy corporations to up-and-coming incubator programs, business and community leaders are putting culture and equality at the forefront. Whether an organization is looking at how talent is recruited, messaging impacts marketing, or products are being developed, businesses know investing in diversity and inclusion is vital socially, culturally, and across business functions. In fact, the Harvard Business Review study found companies with above-average total diversity had both 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% higher EBIT margins.
What diversity means – beyond race and ethnicity
Diversity means more than just race and ethnicity. It’s about including people of different backgrounds, genders, abilities, ages, education levels, and more. Why do you need diversity at an event or in your company? Simply put, diversity drives revenue, motivates employees, and fosters innovation. In events specifically, diversity means a wide range of perspectives, which in turn leads to a wider variety of ideas and discussions.
Why diversity at events matters
How does this translate to events? Events are the human and brand experience that clients, partners, and team members will carry with them. An experience can make the difference between someone feeling welcomed, seen, and valued or forgotten, left out, and unheard.
Events need to be diverse and inclusive which means that you need to be laser-focused on creating the kind of diversity your attendees are beginning to expect, and even demand, when they attend events. And ultimately, this gives you a better meeting, trade show or event, with better and more creative outcomes.
An experience can make the difference between someone feeling welcomed, seen, and valued or forgotten, left out, and unheard.
How do we create a diverse and inclusive event? Here are some of our five favorite tips.
1. Market to everyone.
Every good event starts with stellar, diverse marketing materials. Ensure they include people of all genders, races, personal styles, physical needs, and backgrounds. Beyond that, ensure they’re accessible to people of varying abilities – promotional videos should have subtitles for those who are deaf or have other hearing impairments. Take the time to have websites, materials, and collateral translated into multiple languages.
If your team members, clients, and partners can see, hear, and imagine themselves at your event, then registrations will reflect the diverse community you serve. And that’s the goal.
2. Utilize inclusive technology.
You want your technology to be accessible and usable by anyone and everyone. This means people who have impairments, those who may not have access to the latest technology and devices, and those who have language barriers. You want to anticipate any problems or issues that may come up and be ready to deal with them before they happen. Reach out to those in your community who can provide valuable feedback on whether you’re hitting the mark.
3. Creating a diverse event through programming.
If you create an event with a diverse audience, then they’re going to want to see and hear from a range of experts. How many women are on your stage? What about someone with disabilities? Unique training trajectories? Can panelists, instructors, and moderators bring unique information, perspectives, and life experiences to the stage?
If the answer is no – then you have some work to do. You should aim to have your speakers be as diverse (or more diverse) than you’re aiming for your attendees to be.
4. Create a welcoming space.
Your event should be welcoming to all kinds of people – and that doesn’t just mean the programming and the technology, but the actual space itself.
Go beyond ADA-compliance and set aside quiet rooms for those who need them, and places for nursing mothers.
5. Focus on inclusion and not representation.
Embrace your values by taking advantage of what your diverse audience wants to see, hear and experience from your diverse participants and speakers. An event is more than checking boxes – you need to do the work!
Now that you know the basics of what you need for creating a diverse event, it’s time to get started on putting yours together. Make sure that you market to everyone, utilize inclusive technology, create diverse programming, and create a welcoming space.
Need help creating your next event? Here at Trademark, we can do that! Contact us today for a consultation and to see what we can do to help you.
When we go into new client meetings, or even when we meet with existing accounts, we have an opportunity to build the working team that will take that event across the finish line.