Can everyone truly participate?

Guests who are personally approached before, during, and after an event. An event location that fully accommodates people with disabilities. And speakers on stage who reflect the diversity of society. Diversity and inclusion are more than just trendy goals; they are an opportunity to echo your organisation's values throughout. Robert Daverschot, programme maker at Obsession, explains how to create an event where people feel safe, welcome, and valued.


"Diversity and inclusion are not only important in the workplace but also crucial at events," says Robert. "An event is your calling card and shows what your organisation stands for. By considering diversity and inclusion in the programme, you can truly make a difference in an increasingly polarised society. At Obsession, it is one of the pillars of our sustainable approach. We align with the UN's goals for global transformation, the Sustainable Development Goals. We have chosen four that best suit us, and 'Fair Work Through Inclusion' is one of them."

Diversity and inclusion for your event
Programme Maker with a Mission

A programme maker with an eye for inclusion ensures that it is woven into the event from the outset, not as an add-on, but as an integral part. For Robert, this has become second nature. He works as an independent day chair and speaker coach and is also a programme maker at Obsession. His personal background has given him a unique insight into connecting different worlds. Robert: "It wasn't always an easy path, but the lessons from back then help me now in the event field. I think about how to involve a more introverted audience, create a safe atmosphere in the conversation, and how certain speakers come across."

Diversity and inclusion for your event

5 Tips to make your event more inclusive

Designing an event that is accessible to everyone. With these 5 tips from Robert, you can immediately start translating diversity and inclusion into your programme.

1. Involve your audience early on

Event organisations are often focused on one-way communication: how can we inspire and pamper the visitor? But what if we also involve the visitor and ask what they envision? For example: What questions do you currently have about (event theme)? What do you think is going well in the field? Who or what would you like to hear more about? The outcome helps you better align with your audience as an organiser. It also helps the speakers prepare and connect with the information needs. You can incorporate these questions into the registration process, applying crowdsourcing so the audience sees themselves in the event content.

2. Tailor your event communication to your audience

The invitation process is the red carpet to your event and a preview of the feeling you want to convey. Does the language match a younger audience? Do people from different cultures see themselves in the images you use? Are texts clearly readable or audible for people with limited vision? Empathise and consider what communication will resonate with and is needed by your audience. Using personas can help with this.

3. Ensure an inclusive speaker line-up

Diversity goes beyond gender balance. Is this reflected in your stage programming? Beyond male and female speakers, are there also different age groups, people with disabilities, and various cultural backgrounds? Ideally, the stage line-up mirrors the audience in the room.

4. Facilitate safe audience interaction

How introverted or extroverted is your audience? Accountants and judges might be quieter and more introverted than marketers and nurses. But how do you hear everyone? Audience interaction tools help to contribute valuable input (anonymously or not) from your smartphone without needing a microphone or spotlight. Alternatively, break into smaller groups instead of holding a plenary discussion.

5. Choose a welcoming location

Aside from the content, the location also plays a role. Is it accessible for people with disabilities? Does the kitchen cater to various diets? Are there enough charging stations for people who consciously drive electric cars? Discuss with the event location what is possible and how you can create an inclusive experience together.