- Your diversity and inclusion event cannot be approached with an attitude of “filling a quota” or “checking a box.”
- You can create a space dedicated to uplifting voices from diverse communities and creating a richer experience for everyone involved in your corporate gathering.
- Mixtroz is a tool that creates unbiased connections
Although many people have only just become aware of the lack of representation of diverse communities in corporate environments over the past few years, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives aren’t just a trend. They are not a plaque to hang near the elevator either. DEI is actionable, and failing to integrate it throughout your organization has consequences.
For example, attendees of corporate gatherings are deprived of valuable insights, perspectives, and experiences from diverse voices when DEI is not thoughtfully integrated into events.
As a professional in the events industry, thoughtful inclusion begins with a broader understanding of what encompasses diverse communities. In other words, consider the entire range of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, language, ability, religion, and more.
We live in an incredible world full of different perspectives and cultures. It’s time we do a better job of embracing them.
To help you bring DEI into every aspect of event planning, this blog post outlines strategies to improve diversity and inclusion in your events, both internally and externally.
1. Assess Your Company’s Approach and Policies
Addressing unconscious bias in the workplace begins with an assessment of internal policies and attitudes. Before creating a more diverse and inclusive event, consider these questions as they relate to your own company:
- Are there diverse voices and perspectives on your events team?
- Does your company have initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion?
- Do your partners have initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion?
- Does HR have policies to address discrimination within the company?
- Have you considered creating employee resource groups focused on diversity?
By establishing authentic DEI policies and initiatives behind the scenes, you can reflect those values in your external events.
2. Hire Diverse Speakers
An audience that doesn’t feel represented is not likely to attend another event, so the speakers—the most outward-facing aspect of your event—should be from various cultures and backgrounds.
But we’ve all heard of “diverse” events that cherry-pick speakers to check boxes and hit quotas. That’s an outdated and unfair approach. Instead, you need to understand that hiring panelists and speakers from diverse backgrounds provides richer conversations and sessions.
Consider this condensed analogy from Robert Livingston’s The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations:
- If you were building a house, would you choose a toolbox full of only hammers or one that includes a hammer, saw, screwdriver, and wrench?
When your event includes voices from diverse communities, you provide a wide range of perspectives and approaches, not just those you already know.
According to research reported by McKinsey & Company, “Black workers account for 15 million, or 12 percent, of the 125 million U.S. private-sector workers.” By lifting the voices of diverse communities at your events, you play a crucial role in creating much-needed change.
3. Feature Inclusive Content in Your Program
The content featured in your event needs to resonate with and impact diverse communities. The content also needs to solve real problems or lead to real change.
For example, don’t go the safe route and burden the speaker with creating an inclusive environment. Instead, ask, “What can we do to be inclusive?” and give them the space to answer authentically.
When promoting your event, feature the speakers from diverse communities by providing quotes or snippets of their work. To reiterate, you don’t want to simply “check the boxes” when it comes to DEI. Instead, promote the value that they will bring to your event.
Before the materials are finalized and sent to print, share them with various persons on your event team for feedback.
4. Build Partnerships
Building effective partnerships will enliven and support your diversity and inclusion initiatives. In other words, you’re not talking the talk—you’re walking the walk. It also allows you to partner with experts in a field you might not have much experience in. By working with these experts in your business and events, you can learn from them and share their knowledge with the world.
For certain events, you might need to find funding through sponsorships. This is another opportunity to further integrate DEI into your events. When researching potential partnerships, be sure to find out about their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Better yet, seek sponsorships from minority-, women-, or gender-diverse-owned businesses and give them the opportunity to promote their brands.
5. Be Open to Feedback
It’s crucial for those in the social majority or those who experience systemic privilege to listen, listen, and listen some more. In fact, in many situations, it’s more important to listen than to speak.
Be open to feedback about inclusion and learn what you can improve at the next event. If you experience moments of discomfort, that’s okay! This is natural during periods of change, and being willing to listen and accept feedback is part of being a good ally to marginalized communities.
Take Your Diversity and Inclusion Events to the Next Level
Mixtroz is a tool that creates unbiased connections based on information provided by attendees about how they see themselves. At no point do they have the opportunity to say “yay” or “nay” to who they are grouped with, allowing people to find commonality and diversity regardless of appearances or titles.
Whether diversity and inclusion events are live, virtual, or hybrid, our platform makes networking feel natural and data easily accessible for the event planner. Ready to give Mixtroz a shot? Request a demo today!