Effective communication is critical to the success of inclusion. Inclusive communication means you may need to change your habits and adapt your methods on how you speak and listen to existing and new members.
How people and organisations communicate is often linked to existing cultures and habits. We rarely question our communication style because that is how we naturally communicate and that’s the way things are always done.
But if, for example, you are interested in attracting new members and participants to your club from different cultures, where English is a second language, then your communication style may need to change.
Does your communication reflect your commitment to inclusion? Look for opportunities to let people know that your club is inclusive. Think about where people from different ethnic groups gather in your community. What about people with disability? Is there a place where your flyers or advertising will have the greatest impact?
Use a variety of mediums and channels to communicate your message. Your message may need to be translated into another language to have maximum impact. Produce posters about your club or ‘come and try’ days and distribute them to community groups or at libraries for wider promotion.
Make sure your social media and your website reflect your commitment to inclusion. Include photos of people from diverse backgrounds, Indigenous people, people with disability and older adults. As the saying goes – ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.
What about the way you communicate? Use simple, direct language and avoid stereotypes. Have open communications with all your members so that new ideas and suggestions regarding policies and practices are considered and people feel confident they are being listened to.
Your club’s culture of inclusion should be obvious for all to see.
Watch the interview with Debbie Simms.