We’ve had lots of talk about inclusivity in our community. A group can only be as inclusive and welcoming as its members, right? We know the saying, “A rotten apple spoils the bunch”. Bad apples affect the inclusivity of a community. You can’t control a rotten apple, but you can prevent it from spoiling you and those around you.
So ask yourself, “Am I inclusive?”
We all want to say yes, but how do we know for sure? I have an example to help you answer. Imagine a time when you were talking with three or more people at a conference. There are many other people at the conference. If someone walked near your group, did you make room for them? Did you open the circle and invite them into your discussion? Did you introduce them to the others? Did they instead linger in the outskirts or decide to walk past, playing it cool. When that happened, had you noticed them looking at your group? Had you made eye contact with them?
This is something I see happen at conferences, and it is both a great test and something easy to fix. I find welcoming a person feels great! The conversation may be interrupted briefly, but you can quickly get back on track.
I have also made eye contact with a person who looked like they wanted to join a group I was in, and watched them walk away instead. I recognized the nervous feeling on the approach and the attempted nonchalance when they walked on to some other place. I’ve been that person, shy to approach a large group. We probably all have.
It is hard to break into a circle of people together, to squeeze yourself in, not knowing if you’re welcome. But when the circle opens up to you, there is no doubt you are welcome. So now, how will you answer the question?
Are YOU inclusive?