A great way to create an inviting, inclusive environment is to facilitate open and active communication – shared interests, shared disinterests, seeded topics, anything that stimulates a conversation and draws people in. This is not always easy, especially in settings full of strangers, like at a conference where even saying ‘hello’ is a challenge for many .
I have never seen this challenge quite so well addressed as the #RecruitDC conference. The whole place was abuzz, every table, every break, every little group. What was the ingenious solution that created an inclusive environment and gave everyone an easy way to say hello?
Lots and lots and lots of stickers. There were stickers of movies, sports, hobbies, general decorations, animals, pop culture icons, etc. What were these stickers for? For us, the attendee’s, to decorate our badges. So, in an activity that I had previously regulated to projects with my children, I decorated my badge, along with almost everyone else.
Such a simple act of selecting stickers gave us all common ground while allowing us to be our true and authentic selves. Whether horses or Harry Potter, diving or the Dallas Cowboys, there was always plenty to talk about. Conversations exploded; from “Why did you choose a heart?” to “Eagles – are you from Philadelphia?” to “What do you think of the new Star Wars movies?” and it was fantastic! Rather than struggling with “Hello”, attendees were easily engaging and having a great time.
Amazing job #RecruitDC team for creating such a welcoming and inclusive environment that allowed us to all celebrate ourselves and each other.