Planning for Inclusion
Clients appreciate financial advisors who recognize that not everyone has the same needs and preferences. Be an inclusive host by finding out what it takes to make guests comfortable. They will be delighted and come to trust that you have their best interests at heart.
Start ahead of time
Give yourself plenty of time to gather a checklist of considerations and discover the best ways to satisfy them. For instance, you don't want to find out at the last minute that the only venue with full access for mobility challenged guests is no longer available. Use preparation as your best tactic.
Seek out detailed resources to make your guests with disabilities feel welcome using a bit of research if you are planning the event in-house. If you are hiring an event professional, make sure they have experience in planning for accessibility as well as other special guest considerations.
Consult the Experts--Your Guests
The best tip for inclusiveness is to bring guests into your planning. They are likely to have preferences in the way their needs are handled. Some guests may have non-obvious disabilities, chronic health conditions, or comfort requirements determined by their age, body, lifestyle, religion, etc. And, yet other needs might only be temporary. Ask guests what they need to be comfortable.
Solicit the information on RSVP forms when you first announce the event. When practical, reach out individually to clarify. Ensure the registration, ticketing, and event website are fully accessible. Publicize the level of accessibility once arrangements have been made to let guests know what to expect.
Disabilities and personal challenges can vary so you will need to remember this when you plan your events calendar. Some clients may feel more comfortable at smaller intimate events. Others may not be able to make eye contact at a dinner. And, still others may only be able to focus and enjoy themselves under specific constraints, such as environments free of strong chemical odors--no golf outings with lawn pesticides for these clients!
Perform an accessibility check on any presentation slides. Fully describe photographs, diagrams, and any other images used. Avoid flashing animations because they can cause seizures. Presenters should not rely on vague hand gestures or body language to carry their message.
Be careful with language, too, to avoid using phrasing that might marginalize people via negative connotations. For instance, instead of crazy, use words like “chaotic". For handouts and other printed materials, use sans serif fonts in large text large text. Avoid gloss paper and high contrast colors.
Use a microphone for speaker and audience questions at large gatherings. When possible try to use well positioned cameras to assist lip-readers. Some hearing impaired guest may appreciate a sign-language interpreter. Consider using Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), a technology that enables captioning services for the benefit of hearing impaired guest who neither use sign-language or lip-reading and also guests with auditory processing disorders.
Other Factors to Consider
You may also want to think about other ways to make your guest feel included:
- Plan for dietary preferences, restrictions, and allergies
- Provide gender neutral bathrooms
- Arrange for ground transport to out-of-the way locals
Plan events where family oriented guests can bring loved ones. Hold these gatherings in family-friendly locales. Offer on-site childcare when practical. Even if children are not attending, breast-feeding mothers may need a tranquil, clean lactation room to pump.
These suggestions are only a starting point for inclusivity. Go above and beyond basic standards. Amazing client experience happen when guests feel welcome and engaged, not merely accommodated.
FlexShares wants to help financial advisors create amazing client relationships built, in part, through events built around their clients’ passions. We have developed a series of posts as well as a whitepaper, which can be used as a blueprint for executing your event planning strategy. Download our whitepaper today and stay tuned for more event marketing tips.
Before investing, carefully consider the FlexShares investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other information is in the prospectus and a summary prospectus, copies of which may be obtained by visiting www.flexshares.com. Real the prospectus carefully before you invest.
Managed by Northern Trust. Foreside Fund Services, LLC distributor.
Please remember that all investments carry some level of risk, including the potential loss of principal invested. They do not typically grow at an even rate of return and may experience negative growth. As with any type of portfolio structuring, attempting to reduce risk and increase return could, at certain times, unintentionally reduce returns.