Importance of Inclusivity at Events
Inclusivity is ‘the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of minority groups.’ As event managers, it is hugely important to look at what we can do to ensure that our events are as inclusive as possible. These general guidelines should be considered for every event from conference management to destination management. Below are some things to think about when planning more inclusivity at events.
Ask the Question
Inclusivity should be thought about early in the event production plan. If your event requires a registration platform, ask the question while the attendee is registering. “Do you require any special assistance? If yes, please advise” – asking the question allows the attendee to tell you what they need to make the event more comfortable for them, whether it be wheelchair access or someone to guide them from the entry point to the event. You can now make the necessary preparations and plans to help cater for the attendee’s needs.
Mark it on the Agenda
At pre-event meetings, try to make inclusivity part of the conversation. If you have a client that is organising a public event or even an office family day, bring up the idea of possibly having a sensory area or a chill-out zone. There are many not for profit groups in Ireland that can set up mobile sensory rooms either indoor or outdoor that provide a quiet space where attendees of all ages can take a moment to relax. Making inclusivity a topic on the agenda will get your client thinking of the ways you could both incorporate elements to make it an enjoyable event for all in attendance.
Corporate team building activities are at an all-time high especially as we approach the summer months. Due to the work that the EmployAbility Service do in Ireland, as well as many other organisations around the world that help people in minority groups to gain employment, we now have a more diverse workforce than ever before. While activities like cocktail classes and the office annual quiz night are still quite popular, there is an increasing number of options available to help push inclusivity. Understanding the capabilities of the group as a whole will help to form activities that will work for everyone.
Light and Sound
Be aware that not everyone will enjoy your impressive lighting rig as much as you. Some attendees may be sensitive to light and sound and it is important to consider this early in the event planning stages. Ask yourself ‘Do we need these extra lights?’ or ‘Is the volume at an appropriate level?’. If it is not possible to take these things into consideration without compromising the quality of the event, why not consider a chill-out zone where attendees can take time out to relax if they need it?
These are just some small points to consider when planning an event however there are many more things that all event management companies especially in Ireland can do to push the importance of inclusivity. Inclusivity cannot be achieved by ticking some checkboxes, we need to make this part of the wider conversation.