Best Practices & Guidelines for Achieving Inclusivity at Meetings

Share this

Before the meetingDuring the meeting  |  After the meeting  |  Member Society Toolbox / Resources

Member Society contacts: For a copy of the gap analyses worksheets, to help you compare your society's practices with best practices - and prioritze your next steps - please email [email protected].  

Before the meeting

Event planning

1. Make sure the planning committee has diverse members. Include youth for a wide range of ideas and different perspectives.

2. Ensure work revolving around diversity is not only given to the minorities on the committee.

3. When selecting the time and location of the meeting pay attention to:

  • The cost of traveling to the city for members
  • How many days you are expecting members to take off work to attend
  • Members with families

4. Offer discounts

5. Utilize inclusive technologies for hearing/visually impaired participants


  • Have a broad theme to ensure diversity in research
  • Identify inclusive criteria for selecting speakers
  • Offer discount/waive registration for speakers
  • Frame call for proposals in a broad way that invites new ideas and encourages new attendees to submit
  • Communicate commitment to diversity & inclusion
  • Create a clear code of conduct with accountability and make meeting registrants review and agree

During the meeting

Programs & other materials:

Make sure the physical materials communicate what is valued and respected within the society.

  • Name Badges: ex. AAPT Pronoun Stickers
  • Prevent status quo practices from hidden prestige biases and rankism
  • Avoid color coding name badges
  1. Make first and last names the same size
  2. Consider leaving off formal titles
  3. Avoid markers that may diminish engagement from student/early career participants
  • Try to balance images in presentations to represent diversity

Overall climate

  1. Use onsite signage to highlight the code of conduct and processes for reporting
  2. Provide pins/buttons for members that support diversity, inclusion, and equity
  3. De-emphasize the importance of alcohol in social events
  4. Encourage attendees to speak up when they see challenges to professionalism and inclusion
  5. Be clear in communicating zero-tolerance for harassment
  6. Don’t forget vendors’ role in creating and supporting inclusion, make the expectations and code of conduct clear to exhibitors
  7. Offer virtual tools for participation – use social media
  8. Create opportunities for those who might be excluded to join groups for dinner or social events

Reporting and accountability:

  1. Make sure people understand how to report challenges
  2. Ensure tools for anonymous reporting are available
  3. Define what behaviors cross the line before the meeting occurs
  4. Be sure you understand best practices in crisis intervention when handling reports of sexual harassment or assault
  5. Practice difficult conversations before the meeting

Assessment after the meeting

At the end of the meeting, collect feedback not just from the people who attend but also from those who don’t. Societies should share results in a way that has high visibility and shows how they will improve.

Tips for a good post-survey:

  1. Include both belonging and demographic questions
  2. Use embedded links
  3. Keep the number of your questions low (around 15-20)
  4. Create ways for members to respond though their phones
  5. Use social media to promote the survey, providing a link to the survey
  6. Send out the survey on the last day of the conference so the information is fresh in people’s minds
  7. Create a population survey instead of asking the same people each time

Member Society Toolbox/Resources

  • NAVEX Global – Ethics Point online reporting system. Annual fee (includes hotline).
  • – Online anonymous reporting system
  • ACCENT on Children’s Arrangements, Inc. – Onsite Childcare
  • Posters & Marketing Materials – provide signage and fliers regarding anti-harassment code of conduct and how to report incidents.  
  • Unconscious bias/bystander training  

Member Society contacts: For information about estimated costs, names of individual consultants, and to learn which societies have used these services, please email [email protected].