A new Meeting Professionals International (MPI) report and a certificate program aim to help planners make meetings more inclusive.
Males and extroverts are the best served by the meetings and events industry, with the needs of introverts being the least met, according to the “State of Inclusion in Meetings & Events” report released this month by MPI. The report stated that 40 percent of respondents said they do not have all the information/knowledge needed to plan inclusive meetings and identifies knowledge gaps and provides best practice recommendations for making meetings more inclusive.
Additionally, MPI has created an “Inclusive Event Design” certificate program that includes a four-hour, interactive training session. Participants will learn the business case for inclusivity, key principles and strategies, and tactics for planning for inclusive meetings.
“We can’t be afraid to have the conversation,” said Jessie States, CMP, CMM, director, MPI Academy for Meeting Professionals International. “Industry professionals have said there is a gap in knowledge and education to support the design of inclusive experiences, and MPI takes that seriously… Diverse audiences make for more powerful meetings.”
MPI explored the following areas of diversity: ability, culture, demographic characteristics, health, personal characteristics, and professional background. The report found that while 56 percent of respondents’ organizations had a written diversity and inclusion policy, only 20 percent said they had diversity and inclusion initiatives to comply with legal requirements.
The best practice recommendations in the report begin with using diverse images to market the event and asking the right questions on registration forms to gather information about special requirements for food or seating. Planners can draw introverts into the conversation by using technology that allows delegates to ask questions in alternative ways and assigning seating at meals to foster new connections and reduce awkwardness.