A brilliant quote from Rumi that I love:
"Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder."
Words can heal, inspire, and can do a lot of good things! That is exactly what I coach my clients as an Inclusive and Intercultural communications facilitator. My training is not about etymology but about using the words so that they can have the intended impact. The impact could be on any audience- largely employees, or customers, or both. Words can be spoken, written, or conveyed visually but they always have an impact on the receiver. Communication is multi-channel. Even if there is a silent or inactive audience, words do register. So in my line of work, it's important to emphasize that Words are powerful, whichever medium is used for communication. Inclusion is a key marketplace differentiator as most of my posts on this blog reiterates. It can make or break a brand, an organisation, and even an influential individual with a massive following. An integrated, inclusive, and culturally competent communications plan leads to impacting people’s ability to perform, an organization’s ability to bring out the best in employees, a brand's power to sustain. It creates a platform of inclusion that allows fostering creativity and progression in all aspects of the business.
Here are two distinct brands and their communications strategy.
Readers will notice how Qantas' communication is about inclusion and growth and Snapchat's - well, just the opposite!
Qantas unveiled a guideline for its Spirit of Inclusion with words its employees should not use so as not to offend fellow staffers and customers. Obviously, it is not a ban but a guideline to become more inclusive and less stereotypical.
This is a lesson on Inclusive Communications folks. Pretty much sums up the work I do :). My workshops and programs are designed to counter biases in communication that impact people around us. Coming from a recruitment and human resources background, I routinely analyzed words and phrases used extensively in creating job descriptions and internal memos of many organizations that I came across in my line of work and I figured these were highly reflective of many organizations' cultural norms and possibly the reason why these companies couldn't attract diverse talent because the language they used to communicate verbal, written and visual - was not inclusive and hence fail to draw participation from the full spectrum of talent that is available and I always have believed as a recruiter: It is not a PIPELINE problem. Now we have apps and tools to achieve inclusive wording with a click of a button.
An example of exclusion is how Snapchat CEO's (Evan Spiegel) alleged, conclusively prejudicious statement that his app is only for “rich people” and that's why he doesn’t “want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain” created a furor on social media with the app receiving a lot of flak for its CEO's lack of vision for inclusion, lack of an integrated communications plan and (him) confusing his incompetence with success.
The latest downtrend from Snapchat being:
Inclusive communication is empathy-led and diversity-intensive discipline. There is always a divide and a historical disconnect between perceived business needs and more humane interactions. Subtle biases through stereotypes still have a significant effect on the way brands reach out to diverse customers or organizations respond to diverse talent. It is now changing fast and furiously because if companies don't invest in where their mouths are, chances are they will fade away to obscurity.
- Amit Anand