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For the neurodivergent, business conferences and events aren’t always the rewarding, engaging experience that organisers intend them to be. At Inntel, we’re determined to address some of the challenges neurodivergent delegates face.
Sitting for long periods without a break, sensory overload from bright lights and crowded spaces, poor signage, not to mention the anxiety over networking spaces and lack of catering choices. To many of us, these can simply be dismissed as minor irritations or the pitfalls of conferencing. But to the 15% of the UK population who are neurodivergent, any single one of these issues can be a real barrier to doing business.
Eventwell is a charitable social enterprise dedicated to educating, campaigning and supporting better mental wellbeing in the event industry.
We’re partnering with them to help our clients create more nuanced and more inclusive conference environments where neurodivergent people are happy to participate.
An inclusive conference environment needs to feel calm, safe, and comfortable. Neurodivergent delegates need to feel that they can be themselves, without having to ‘mask’ – which can be exhausting.
Examples of techniques and considerations that can be introduced include using colour-coded wristbands for delegates to signal their comfort levels for interacting, clearly defining areas for those who want to network, and increasing numbers of syndicate rooms to create more quiet spaces for delegates to reset and restore.
Ultimately, the goal is for these aspects of inclusive conferencing to be considered the norm. Almost everyone who has attended conferences will recognise that there have been moments when you need a break or quiet moment to gather your thoughts and still your mind. Whether neurodivergent or not, the mental wellbeing of every delegate deserves this kind of support.
“The landscape of the event experience is shifting and moving towards a more human experience ideal. We are delighted to be working with Inntel to support more accessible, human-centric event environments for all attendees.”
Helen Moon, CEO, Eventwell