Meetings

Meetings Memo: Everyone’s Welcome

By / Apr 1, 2019 (porcorex/Getty Images)

3 steps to creating a more inclusive event.

What would you do if following your annual conference you heard from a segment of attendees that they had felt left out? Here are three steps to take to make everyone feel included, if faced with feedback that attendees felt out of place at an event:

1. Pay attention to what you hear, even if it’s uncomfortable. Instead of shying away from the criticism, dive into attendees’ specific concerns and take them to leadership’s attention. As meeting professionals, you have an obligation to ensure that your customers, members, and attendees feel like they have a place and that they’re welcomed.

2. Make an effort to address diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of your event. Take notice of how diverse your speakers are. And also be mindful of your conference marketing materials. You want to be sure they portray a welcoming and diverse lens for the event.

3. Keep the conversation going. To help with this, create a task force made up of several board members, industry people, members, and even nonmembers. This group can help provide the right guidance and right lens to operate through. Just remember: it can’ just be one conversation. It has to be an ongoing effort, and it has to be interwoven throughout the entire conference or event.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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