Creating inclusive and diverse events: 7 proven strategies

Explore seven tried-and-true strategies to enhance diversity and inclusivity in your events.

July 30, 2023

- 3 minutes

In today’s world, accessibility and inclusivity have become crucial considerations in every aspect of life, including events. Whether you’re organizing a team meeting or a major conference, the primary objective is to foster an environment where everyone can participate and engage fully. People with disabilities (PWDs) often encounter barriers in accessing information, and it’s your responsibility as an event organizer to make events more accessible and accommodating for them. Alongside accessibility, embracing diversity is another key aspect that enriches events, expanding attendee bases and infusing a variety of perspectives that make gatherings captivating and interesting. In this blog post, we will explore seven (7) tried-and-true strategies to enhance diversity and inclusivity in your events.

1. Building a diverse team

A truly welcoming event begins with a team that represents a range of backgrounds. Nurturing a team with various cultural perspectives fosters an environment where all participants feel embraced. Such a diverse team brings innovation, distinct viewpoints, and stronger connections with clients, sponsors, speakers, and attendees. It’s crucial to integrate diversity deeply into your organization’s core values, avoiding mere symbolic acts. Designating an inclusivity advocate for the event can help maintain the team’s focus on inclusivity objectives and principles. Furthermore, expanding inclusivity involves collaborating with diverse suppliers who share your dedication to promoting diversity.

Diverse team

2. Prioritizing accessibility at your event

Regardless of the event format—be it in-person or virtual events —ensuring accessibility is of utmost importance.

For in-person events, choose venues that are wheelchair-accessible and offer ample parking spaces for accessibility. Ensure that pathways are obstruction-free and have wide doorways and aisles to accommodate individuals using wheelchairs, scooters, canes, and service animals. Be mindful of attendees who may be affected by strobe lights and dim lighting, as these can pose challenges for individuals with vision impairments, epilepsy, and those on the autism spectrum. Use clear signage to provide directions and identify different locations within the venue. Additionally, ensure that projection screens are visible from all seats to enhance the overall event experience.

For virtual events, design an accessible event website to cater to people of all abilities. Ensuring thoughtful content structure, inclusive alt text on images, intuitive navigation, accessible fonts, and ample white space enhances accessibility. Hiring sign language interpreters and providing sign language support for virtual audiences is crucial. When selecting an event platform, one must ensure that the virtual venue is an accessible place for all attendees, including those with disabilities. It is vital for event organizers to understand the capabilities that the platform has to offer and how it can tailor its offerings to accommodate a truly diverse audience. In accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1), event platforms like Canapii covers a wide range of the recommendations for making web content more accessible to everyone. Working closely with the venue and software partner ensures genuine inclusivity.

3. Embracing diversity in speakers and presenters

A diverse lineup of speakers and presenters adds depth and quality to your event while showcasing your dedication to inclusion. Seek individuals from various ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds to offer diverse perspectives and unique insights. A diverse speaker roster sends a powerful message and enhances attendee engagement. Aim to avoid all-male panels (manels) and tokenism, focusing instead on creating an inclusive speaker lineup that reflects your audience’s diversity.

Diverse speaker

4. Ensuring accessible slides and presentations

To make event materials accessible to all attendees, prioritize font readability from all seats, use high-quality images, and ensure clear messaging. Incorporate audio descriptions to facilitate participation for the blind community. Providing alternative sources like real-time video streaming and braille materials caters to diverse audiences.

5. Planning a variety of inclusive event programs and activities

Ensure a balanced approach by providing a variety of activities that cater to the needs of all attendees. Offer a diverse mix of icebreakers, breakout sessions, competitions, and other accessible or multi-sensory activities. Gather input from various individuals to add richness to your event programs and use post-event surveys to gain insights into attendee preferences. Reach out to your guests and inquire about their comfort and level of participation. Ask if there are any additional requirements they may have. Take note of their overall experience and learn from their feedback to enhance future events and make them more inclusive.

6. Considering introvert-friendly networking options

Recognize different personality types, including introverts, when planning networking activities. Offer small, quiet spaces for relaxation and encourage pre-event networking through digital platforms. Personalize the event experience by addressing attendees by name and providing tailored content to make them feel valued and engaged.


7. Collaboration for inclusivity

Creating an inclusive event is a collective effort. Seek help and collaboration from individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting inclusivity. Utilize their expertise and support to ensure your events embody the spirit of inclusivity.


The importance of accessibility in events cannot be emphasized enough in today’s world. As event planners, it is essential to prioritize accessibility in all aspects of event planning and execution. Making events more accessible starts with thoughtful communication and messaging that includes accessibility information. Embracing accessibility features should not be seen as an afterthought, but rather as a proactive step towards normalizing diversity and inclusivity in all events and occasions.

We encourage event organizers to take the initiative to ensure that their events are inclusive and accommodating to all attendees, including those with disabilities. By incorporating accessibility measures from the outset, you can create an environment where everyone feels welcomed and valued, leading to a more positive and enjoyable experience for all.

If you need guidance or further information on how to make your events more accessible and inclusive, our team is here to assist you. Contact us today for expert advice and support in creating events that embrace diversity and prioritize inclusivity.


Gemma Edwards

Co-Founder at Canapii

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