3 Ways to Increase Diversity at Events [Video]

In this new video we share some points to help make sure our industry and our events are safe, welcome and representative places for every type of guest.

Diversity in our industry is something that has been under scrutiny for many years now, with many blogs, panels and industry surveys focussed on the topic. No matter how much you think you have it nailed down, constantly working to ensure that your event is inclusive and open from conception to event tear down is a must. Here are 3 areas to note.

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Video Transcript

In today’s climate, the focus on equality and diversity (or lack thereof) is more prevalent than ever. Not only as we focus on the wider society or at government levels, but within organisations and smaller workforces too.

It can be something that is skirted around, or not openly talked about due to fear of making people feel uncomfortable or starting difficult conversations. However, in order to move forward we must address these topics head on and ensure we are doing all we can to be inclusive to all.

This video ‘3 Ways to Increase Diversity at Events’ will share some points for you to think about when working on your next project, to help make sure our industry and our events are safe, welcome and representative places for every type of guest.

Hi, I’m Elena and this video is brought to you by the Event Manager Blog video series, EventMB is the number one blog for event professionals.

Diversity in our industry is something that has been under scrutiny for many years now, with many blogs, panels and industry surveys focussed on the topic. No matter how much you think you have it nailed down, constantly working to ensure that your event is inclusive and open from conception to event tear down is a must. Here are 3 areas to note.

  1. Facilities

First of all, let’s think about the guests we want to entice. Though we might have a certain tribe in mind – for example, fashionistas or foodies – we can never accurately predict the exact type of person that is going to register for our event.

This means we need our events to be accessible and welcoming to everyone if we don’t want to discriminate.

This could include things such as changing the categories of toilets, a ramp to access the stage as well as stairs, halal catering options as standard, not making it compulsory to display personal titles on name badges and tickets.

Of course, as the saying goes, you can never please everyone all of the time. But we definitely can make more of a movement towards being able to.

  1. Boards and Organizing Committees

No matter the event, from Glastonbury to a pharma conference, Comic Con to a marathon – no two guests will think, live, or look alike. So why does it appear that the majority of decision makers at event associations, committees, or governing bodies are made up of only one subsection of our ever diverse societies?

If an event committee is largely made up of straight, Spanish females aged between 24-50 for example, there could ultimately be gaps in the programme of the event they create, because they simply will not be able to anticipate and meet the needs of every possible type of guest. No matter how many industry white papers, or customer feedback surveys they read.

Therefore, it is now more than ever important for us to ensure that the people at the very top of our organisations, events or associations, are representative of more than one or two communities within society. Not only to allow us to create the best event experience possible, but to genuinely create events that are open to all.

  1. Panels and Speakers

The classic problem, yet all too often a problem we let slip. Earlier this year it was noted that at event industry conferences for example, the majority of keynote speakers are white, male and over 40. Even though our industry is predominantly made up of females, of differing races and ages.

An article circulating recently suggested that all males should refuse to speak on all male panels. And while, of course, we do need more of a male/female balance on panels, we also desperately need to see more variety in age, sexual orientation, ability and race. So maybe when creating and accepting to appear at events, we should think about whether all speakers/panelists/acts in the line-up are representative of society as a whole.

To sum up, it’s 2017 and we shouldn’t be aiming to get ‘token’ people working at our agencies or appearing on our stages. We should be an industry that is lead from the top down by a vibrant mix of people from all walks of life.

If in doubt, whether heading to, working on, or speaking at an event ask yourself: are there ANY people with similar statistics to me on the schedule? Or are there TOO MANY people with similar statistics to me on this program? And whatever the answer, don’t be afraid to speak up.

If you are the one receiving the constructive criticism, don’t be afraid to listen, to make a stand, and to help make a change.

Let us know your thoughts on the topic, and share this with anyone you think could benefit from this video.

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Julius Solaris
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