“Diversity is the mix. Inclusion is making the mix work.” – Andres Tapia
Every event professional has a different style of planning engagement around their event. Considering varied attendee personas is the first step in planning engagement. For Sam, an informal discussion could fuel his creativity, and for Jules, it could be a more structured networking approach. The biggest bellyache for event marketers and attendees is " insufficient engagement!" So, to end the fuss about poor engagement and networking, try offering many participation methods to attendees. In doing so, you understand which approaches the audiences prefer, helping you power inclusive event engagement.
Let’s see how you can facilitate collaborations and discussions by planning engagement for different personality makeups at your event!
Is Inclusive Event Planning the Keystone to Better Outcomes?
How often have you encountered a phenomenon where a woman speaker is brought in to balance the all-men session panel? Or a person of color is introduced as a diverse speaker to keep up appearances on social media? Well, this window-dressing defeats the purpose of inclusivity and long-term success. For inclusion means more than just participation.
At Canadian Tech @ Scale in 2018, Sarah Kaplan, Director at the Institute for Gender and the Economy, presented a talk on the business case for diversity and inclusion. I heard her talk about how you can build a more diverse team to achieve specific goals. Sarah presented a unique perspective on inclusivity and said gender quota in the makeup of a team leads to better outcomes and change. Not only this, but a McKinsey report reveals that 366 companies featured in the top quartile for gender inclusion were 15% more likely to generate returns above their industry mean!
What does this mean for events?
Inclusive events will capture and boost your high-rolling streak on executing perfect engagement and networking. However, if you want to see a more nuanced benefit of inclusive events, consider this:
You have organized an event that features women and men in AI
, Machine Learning and Cloud. Let's say Speaker A is Susan, and she wants to speak on the challenges she navigated as a woman to become a successful business professional and event speaker in tech. Now, as an organizer, let's say you have decided to organize an all-women networking coffee break after Susan's session. What's the result? Attendees and other women entrepreneurs at the event will feel inspired by Susan's keynote and extend their business collaborations to other like-minded women peers. In doing so, your event becomes a medium and the core facilitator for change, diversity and inclusion.
Hiring women, neuroinclusive and LGBTQ event team members will portray your company in a shining light where all people and genders are treated equally. Highlighting your inclusive hires, activities, events and engagement efforts on social media will surely get your events more traction.