Virtual events are currently taking center stage, allowing for a rare opportunity to increase inclusivity and culture-centrism.
What does it mean to be culture-centric?
As the term suggests, to be culture-centric is to have culture at the center. This means that there is a clear understanding of your attendees’ various perspectives, values, and beliefs. It is said that if you don’t establish a culture, then it will be established for you.
Understand who your attendees are
You can only make decisions based on your attendees once you know who they are. The great thing about virtual events is that many platforms support advanced functionalities such as InEvent’s custom forms. These forms can be attached to the event’s registration forms, adding an extra layer of insight. They are fully customizable, so you can extract as much specific information as you may need.
Ask yourself, who is my attendee? Understanding who your attendee is helps you make informed decisions. This question may lead you to do some ethnographic and demographic research. If you find that your attendee is x, you can also ask yourself what is being done to exclude y. What about your event is marginalizing another group of potential attendees? This thought process creates an opportunity to consider what is being done to make your event more inclusive and accessible to various groups.
Offer culture-centric content
Culture-centrism is crucial because it determines what type of content you include at your virtual event and how you present it. Culture determines how your attendees will engage with your speakers, other attendees, and the content at large.
For instance, hosting a virtual event where most attendees are elderly will mean that you want to limit the number of complicated, tech-savvy processes to avoid alienating them. For younger audiences, you can invite them to engage using emojis, upload stickers, GIPHY’s, or other files. Your approach to participatory communication will be very different depending on who your attendees are.
Create a safe virtual space for attendees to share
Creating a space where people feel safe enough to share is imperative in creating a culture-centric event. Sometimes people are afraid to share simply because they are uncomfortable doing so in a public arena. Marginalized voices can and will continue being marginalized if a safer space isn’t created.
Some platforms offer the unique added benefit of anonymity through polls. Polls are a great way to integrate many different experiences and perspectives without attaching people to their answers. Once all votes are in and results are shared, you will be surprised by how much the group dynamic might shift due to revealing perspectives that may have been previously invisibilized.
Allow for flexibility at your virtual events
While there are things like core values and beliefs that should remain consistent, being flexible means that there is room for growth. As the state of society is shifting at exponential rates, we need to remain open to the changes that may come. Arguably, technology and the digital world are adapting to that shift much faster than its human counterparts.
Virtual events allow for the participation of people with disabilities in a way where many in-person events fall short – closed captions and transcripts are available at the click of a button, virtual spaces can encourage people to state their preferred pronouns in their on-screen bios, and the option to record live sessions could also support people who may be caregivers – a responsibility that disproportionately affects women.
Be authentic in offering culture-centric virtual events
Don’t underestimate how much insight your attendees may have into your event or your organization at large. If you care about creating a space that caters to the needs of your attendees, then find the necessary tools and resources.
More often than not, organizations jump onto the trendy bandwagon of societal shifts, and it is not hard to spot when there is a false sense of camaraderie. Don’t be that guy. Brands, companies, and events that are authentic to their core values often stand out in a unique and easily identifiable way. Start your journey to cultural centrism from the bottom up to truly stand out from the crowd.
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