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It’s time to use smarter, improved, more inclusive language

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It’s time to use smarter, improved, more inclusive language
As an event host and MC, one of the things I used to love saying was, “Laaaadiiiieeeeees aaaaaaand gentlemen”. I pictured myself in the top hat, red coat with golden piping, even with a twirled moustache like the circus ring announcers of old. The phrase sounds great! It even feels great as you let it slide over the tongue and out of your mouth.

I can’t say it any more.

Of late I have become more aware of managers, speakers and facilitators using it. Whether it is used at conferences, events, simple meetings or emails, it is time we got better. It is time we used better language. Smarter language. More inclusive language.

We want EVERYONE who is listening to feel part of the event.

We want EVERYONE to feel welcome and know they are in the right place.

We want EVERYONE to feel safe, and, dare I say it, loved for taking the time and effort to be there.

Ladies and gentlemen no longer does that.

So here are a few alternatives that I have heard and some I use myself. These are in the “ok” category and I believe there is room for improvement:

  • Folks
  • Delegates
  • Industry friends
  • Everyone
  • All of you

These are some I love to use:

  • LEGENDS of the [insert industry] industry
  • Amazing people from [company name] and our wonderful supporters, sponsors and suppliers
  • Rabble makers, rebel rousers and righteous rockstars

Naturally you have to pick your audience and use something that is appropriate and gives the right energy. Don’t be afraid to amplify it a bit. People love a rockstar welcome and to have their ego stroked.

Reach out if you need some ideas for your event. Until then, please stop using “Ladies and gentlemen”.
Use better language. More engaging language. More exciting language. Most importantly, more inclusive language.

Your ENTIRE audience will love you for it.

Warwick Merry is a global award winning event host and event evangelist. For over 20 years he has been hosting and producing online, hybrid and in-person events.

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