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As a result of COVID-19, events and conferences across the globe are being cancelled en masses to help mitigate the virus’ spread.

For many event organisers, the solution has been to move events online – delivering smaller, more intimate sessions for delegates. The results have been overwhelmingly positive so far.

In many respects, this represents the future of the industry: it’s easier, more cost-effective and rapidly scalable. There’s no limit to what can be achieved and from a health and safety perspective, there’s no risk.

But while moving online presents solutions, it also comes with its fair share of problems – the most notable being the issue of diversity and inclusion.

Improving diversity and inclusion at events has been an ongoing goal for event organisers and managers across the globe; not only does doing so bolster the quality of content and engagement received, it also helps set events apart.

However, improving diversity and inclusion at a physical event is difficult enough, let alone one that’s hosted online. The challenge remains the same but how it’s dealt with is completely different.

To help you ensure your online events are diverse, inclusive and as successful as they can be, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you through the coming months and into the future when it comes to diversity and inclusion for online events.

 

Remove language barriers

If you want to make your online events more diverse and inclusive, you have to remove language barriers. You can do this by providing interpretation and translation services for attendees so they can listen to content in their chosen language.

There’s an opportunity here for online event organisers and managers to tap into and attract more diverse audiences. All too often people don’t go to events they are interested in because the sessions and content are delivered in a language they don’t understand or don’t understand well. However, by moving your events online, enlisting the services of interpreters and allowing them to work remotely, you can instantly eliminate this problem and start offering content in different languages. The more languages you can offer, the more accessible, diverse and inclusive your event becomes.

 

Select a diverse speaker panel

A principal issue in today’s event space is a lack of diversity. This pertains to ethnicity, background, level of education and experience.

To make your online events more diverse (and therefore more interesting and representative of today’s issues), bring in a variety of experts from different backgrounds and walks of life. For example, if you were to hold an event on “Achieving Business Success” and all of your online speakers were white males in their 60s, while your audience is made up of younger men and women, black and white, will your audience feel included? Probably not.

So when it comes to diversity and inclusion, considering the composition of your audience and what they expect is essential. Prioritise women, LGBTQ speakers and minority speakers – not for PR purposes but because they too have valuable insight and knowledge that may not be found elsewhere. Also, consider doing a “blind” speaker selection. Set your basic criteria – i.e. age (this will depend on audience), industry, expertise – but ask for no other identifying information. This way you ensure speakers are selected based on the quality of their application.

 

Broaden your marketing

Don’t just market your online event to one audience – think about the other audiences that might be interested in the seminars and sessions you have available. Do some online surveys and market research to understand who might be interested.

With the information you obtain you can begin to identify other audiences that may want to come to your online events. You can then make an informed decision on what languages to hire interpreters for and then, based on who wants to attend your event, scale your platform as required.

This is a relatively inexpensive approach that can deliver amazing returns for your event. Throw your fishing line and see what bites!

 

Provide online event discounts or raffle tickets for entry

Cost and availability can be the most significant barriers to entry for many people. There will undoubtedly be those who want to go to your event but either a) can’t afford to or b) there are no tickets left.

To make your online events more inclusive and as a result, more diverse, it’s worth considering ticket discounts and subsidies to enable more companies to participate – think non-governmental organisations, particularly not-for-profit organisations that are reliant on grants and donations, and educational institutions that have limited budgets and cannot afford ‘extracurricular’ spend.

Also, consider keeping additional tickets in reserve and discount them for specific organisations that you want to connect with or you know will be unable to commit until a certain date. International organisations, for instance, may need time to decide who they want to participate in your online event.

Finally, as the event date inches closer, run raffles for entry on social media. People will be inclined to share what you’re doing, ultimately expanding your reach and helping you to attract more interested parties!

Doing all of the above not only looks good, it shows businesses you care and want to make your online events available to everyone.

 

How can Interprefy help?

We don’t run or host events, but we can provide a platform to make your events more diverse, inclusive and engaging.

Our platform – Interprefy – makes events more accessible by enabling them to be hosted online and delivered in different languages.

Interprefy is a cloud-based interpreting platform for online and on-site events. Through it interpreters can work from anywhere, enabling them to provide their services remotely.

Event registrants can attend events “digitally” by connecting to the platform via the Interprefy app, and they can listen to content in their language of choice – delivered in real time via the interpreter. With Interprefy, you can improve the event experience and diversity and inclusion, all with minimal investment.

To find out more about the trends currently shaping event management in 2020, download our free eBook by clicking the button below.

 

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Kim Ludvigsen

Written by Kim Ludvigsen

Kim Ludvigsen is the founder and CEO of Interprefy. He was born in 1958 and grew up in Denmark. He lives in Zurich and graduated in Civil Engineering from the ETH in 1981 and has an MBA from INSEAD 1986. He worked for Accenture, Apax Partners and Ernst & Young and later co-founded several start-ups. In 2014 he met with Peter Frei, former colleagues form the Swiss Post, with whom he conceived the Interprefy business idea.