The European Committee of the Regions organized a webinar last Thursday July 16 on how to reach wider audiences and develop effective inclusive communication strategies. Experts in this field such as Sue Robinson, Carmen Serrano Díaz, and Celine Fabrequette, led the meeting to give their different perspectives on the topic starting from what we refer to as actual inclusive communication to further dive in-depth into some of their recommended inclusive communicative practices within the digital world.
Ideally, inclusive communication occurs when all constituents feel their voices are heard. Nevertheless, some of the most frequent obstacles to two-way communication with minorities in public talk are identity issues or missed connections.
Caring for shifting towards a more inclusive communication style is relevant nowadays because as we can perceive when walking along with a melting pot in the venue, our societies are ever-increasingly multicultural and diverse therefore we should be aware of the fact that our traditional communication style needs to adapt. This is, we trust other people will be receptive to our verbal and non-verbal communication yet we tend to ignore that they come from a different background which favors the rise of a communication gap. Moreover, because our communications are not as inclusive as we assume we should pay attention to our language to avoid missed connections.
To avoid this, we must be mindful of expressing ourselves through words that transmit inclusiveness and closeness underlying our message. Many times, certain social groups feel discouraged to express an opinion that contradicts the popular belief. We should not forget that minorities are part of the solution too. They are equally concerned by issues such as racism, gender, equality or climate change, therefore it is worth listening to different insights and valuable contributions.
Inclusive communication must not only be watched by public authorities but it should rather be a collective commitment. The key to embracing new inclusive practices and behaviors is to face change with a young, open mind, that is, start by recognizing the ever-increasing tendency towards multiculturality of our societies and hence the need to give not only the right to minorities to be heard but also labor opportunities that will empower them and enrich the quality, reach and scope of work projects. Plus, the more culturally diverse a team the greater the inputs and results, in particular when addressing a specific issue on which a person from a specific social group has expertise or personal experience.
Both organizations and individuals can contribute to creating a more interconnected and considerate society through their digital activities by considering for instance the use of alternative formats and adding texts to videos and images. As for organizations in particular, reaching these audiences might require investing time to do research to determine what social media platforms are popular within the targeted communities and then engage with them on a regular basis online and offline. In brief, show receptiveness through responsiveness.
By Julia Sanz
JESC Summer Intern