Inclusion in 2021

Photo by Nick Hirschmann

When talking about inclusive events, people often first think about accessibility and accommodations. It’s something we’ve written about in the past (‘Rethinking Inclusivity and Accessibility in a Virtual World’), but inclusion actually encompasses more than that. 

In an effort to be inclusive, we should  consider all of the factors that could possibly limit or exclude a person from attending an event:

  • Physical and/or cognitive impairments
  • Mental health 
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Physical access
    • Transportation to event locations
    • Up-to-date technology for viewing or engaging 
  • Comfort-levels around attending in-person events
  • Current restrictions and safety protocols 
  • Vaccination statuses

Once we pinpoint any factors that may limit attendance, it’s easier to adjust and improve the event accordingly. This is one of the reasons our team loves hybrid events as much as we do. In our opinion, hybrid events offer the best of both worlds – live/in-person events and virtual events that offer accommodations to all. Don’t get us wrong, that means planning two events in one, but we’re always up for the challenge!

If you are planning an inclusive hybrid event here are a few key things to consider:

  • Use your registration form to gather information about what accommodations need to be made for each attendee.
    • Keep in mind these may differ for in-person attendees and virtual attendees. 
  • Consider offering tiered pricing for virtual attendees vs. in-person attendees to capture a larger audience.
    • This captures potential attendees from various geographical locations as well as economic circumstances.
  • Make sure that you’re offering value to your virtual attendees so they aren’t feeling like their experience is less than those who attend in-person.
    • Consider giving attendees  ‘behind-the-scenes’ access to speakers for Q&A or other VIP access to enhance the virtual experiences.
  • Encourage attendees from both virtual and in-person to mingle and interact with each other across platforms.
    • Use a mobile-friendly platform or breakout room so that in-person attendees don’t need to have a laptop with them.
  • Ensure that your physical location is accessible. 
    • Wheelchair access
    • Non-gendered washroom facilities
    • Ample space for attendees to distance themselves

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – hybrid events are here to stay!

– Your Tycoon, Lindsay XO