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How to Create Radically Welcoming Experiences

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When people feel welcome at your event, hotel or facility, they want to return. But there are a thousand tiny ways to make people feel unwanted. Being accommodating is more than being ADA compliant, addressing dietary restrictions and accommodating faith and gender. Explore what it means to be truly welcoming to your participants.

Learner Outcomes:
•Evaluate whether or not current meeting/event practices are alienating attendees.
•Analyze potential ways to make their meetings and events more welcoming places.
•Create a strategy for transforming upcoming meetings and events into radically welcoming spaces for all participants

For more meeting and event education and inspiration, visit http://academy.mpiweb.org. To learn more about the world's largest family of meeting and event professionals, visit http://www.mpiweb.org/join.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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How to Create Radically Welcoming Experiences

  1. 1. HOW TO CREATE RADICALLY WELCOMING EXPERIENCES cc: Dave Lastovskiy - https://unsplash.com/@dlasto?utm_source=haikudeck&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN Kristi Casey Sanders, Director of Thought Leadership, Meeting Professionals International mpiweb.org/join #MPI @KristiCasey
  2. 2. Kristi Casey Sanders, CMP, CMM, DES, HMCC Director of Thought Leadership Meeting Professionals International @KristiCasey #MPI www.mpiweb.org/join
  3. 3. Imagine you're having a dinner party. Who's invited? cc: Dave Lastovskiy - https://unsplash.com/@dlasto?utm_source=haikudeck&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  4. 4. Learner Objectives 1. Evaluate if you're unintentionally alienating attendees 2. Analyze ways to be more welcoming 3. Create strategy for your upcoming meetings and events cc: Halans - https://www.flickr.com/photos/48889073931@N01 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  5. 5. To Be Radically Welcoming 1. Know stakeholders' objectives for meeting 2. Understand your group's needs and demographics 3. Align meeting design, logistics & messaging to the above 4. Take a walk in someone else's shoes 5. If in doubt, ask & be transparent cc: Halans - https://www.flickr.com/photos/48889073931@N01 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  6. 6. Who are we alienating? Who's on stage & in your marketing materials? ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  7. 7. Think about • Fishing outside your pool of usual suspects • Ask your audience for suggestions • Do some research (writers, industry leaders, outside professionals) ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  8. 8. Who are we alienating? Are you telling people you don't care if they come? cc: Jamie McCaffrey - https://www.flickr.com/photos/15609463@N03 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  9. 9. Think about • Avoiding major religious holidays • Serving kosher/hallal foods (or vegan) • Taking breaks around prayer times • Serving food at different times during Ramadan cc: slgckgc - https://www.flickr.com/photos/14771153@N04 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  10. 10. Who are we alienating? Are we enabling cliquish behavior? cc: charamelody - https://www.flickr.com/photos/23628513@N00 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  11. 11. Think about • Pairing newbies with veterans • Creating buyer-seller interactions that are more casual and friendly and less transactional • Incorporating icebreakers and group work into educational sessions • Mixing people up in intentional ways cc: rileyssmiling- https://www.flickr.com/photos/100077624@N05 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  12. 12. Who are we alienating? Are we taking care of our introverts? cc: Gwenaël Piaser - https://www.flickr.com/photos/22841923@N02 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  13. 13. Think about • Leaving unstructured time for people to think about what they've learned • Incorporate reflection time in educational sessions • Offer tools that allow for anonymous interactivity/polls/question submission • Have a quiet room or multiple lounges cc: Sabri Tuzcu - https://unsplash.com/@sabrituzcu?utm_source=haikudeck&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  14. 14. Who are we alienating? Are we humans first or our gender? cc: TooFarNorth - https://www.flickr.com/photos/63943575@N00 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  15. 15. Think about • Not asking for gender-specific information on registration forms • If gender information is required, consider asking what prounouns attendees would prefer be used to describe them or letting people choose multiple options • Offer gender-neutral bathrooms cc: torbakhopper - https://www.flickr.com/photos/32029534@N00 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  16. 16. Who are we alienating? Are you thinking about the differently abled? cc: Paweł Bukowski - https://unsplash.com/@bukowski?utm_source=haikudeck&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  17. 17. Think about • Asking about challenges during registration • Conducting site inspections as if you had that physical challenge • How ramp and shuttle access locations might separate your attendees from friends • Don't skimp on your AV spend • Allow companions • If in doubt, ask how to handle • Consider offering an onsite concierge cc: Moodycamera Photography - https://www.flickr.com/photos/21806747@N04 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  18. 18. Who are we alienating? Can we create safe spaces to debate & discuss ideas? cc: Vlad Tchompalov - https://unsplash.com/@tchompalov?utm_source=haikudeck&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  19. 19. Think about • Laying ground rules for how to discuss sensitive topics • Encourage respect for all points of view • Create opportunities for structured and unstructured discussions of topics attendees care about • Creating a "free speech" zone • Remind people it's OK to disagree cc: Ame Otoko - https://www.flickr.com/photos/30674850@N00 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  20. 20. Who are we alienating? Are you taking people's comfort into consideration? cc: Travelin' Librarian - https://www.flickr.com/photos/45082883@N00 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  21. 21. Think about • Not playing just one type of music or booking one type of entertainment • Balance what's trendy with what's comfortable • Mix up seating and offerings to appeal to multiple demographics • Use pre-event survey or registration data to gather likes/dislikes in order to create custom experiences • Offer a technology concierge cc: HckySo - https://www.flickr.com/photos/54191388@N00 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  22. 22. Who are we alienating? Are you taking care of their health needs? cc: Sanctu - https://www.flickr.com/photos/71438311@N00 ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  23. 23. Think about • Collecting allergy and medical info • Eliminating allergens from menus • Communicating meal delivery strategy to banquet servers AND attendees • Creating alcohol-free receptions • Distributing menus in advance and listing ingredients for all items • Offering more vegetarian/vegan meals cc: David Vázquez - https://unsplash.com/@davidvaz?utm_source=haikudeck&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  24. 24. What else? cc: quinn.anya - https://www.flickr.com/photos/53326337@N00 What else? ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN
  25. 25. What will you start doing differently at your events? cc: chuttersnap - https://unsplash.com/@chuttersnap?utm_source=haikudeck&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit ©2018 MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MPIWEB.ORG/JOIN

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