The humankind thrives on communication, whether it is through symbols, images, sounds or language. Evolution has only helped us strengthen this communication bringing language to the center of it all. Making the it the principal method of human communication whether it’s spoken, written or through gestures.
Language has the ability to build relationships and forge connections, but it’s equally liable for creating barriers and impacting someone’s sense of belonging even in our workplaces.
However, creating an environment that inculcates the habit of using inclusive language is easier said than done. It involves getting rid of old habits, acknowledging our biases and learning new terms that we may not always be aware of.
What is inclusive language?
Inclusive language respects and promotes all people as valued members of society. It uses vocabulary that avoids exclusion and stereotyping, slang or expressions that make one feel discriminated against. It allows one to resonate more with the people we are communicating with impartially.
In a workplace, inclusive language is crucial in creating psychological safety and giving our colleagues a space where they belong. Our colleagues start relating with the workplace and find representation through the language used.
How do I use inclusive language?
Start small, look within and see where you are using language that is non inclusive. Implement and correct your own behavior. Start using it in your written as well as verbal communication.
Here’s a few examples:
- Refer to a theoretical person as ‘they/them’ instead of ‘he’ or she’.
- Use gender-neutral terms when speaking with your colleagues about their partners/family members.
- When in doubt always ask individuals what pronouns they prefer.
- Use gender neutral terms in job descriptions and organization forms.
- Make sure that your organizations designs, images and written communication is mindful of diversity.
Can I learn this overnight?
Not really, the answer to becoming inclusive is that it is a continuous process. Moreover, our world and society are constantly evolving. Understanding inclusive language through micro lessons helps workplaces know relevance and stay up to date with the times.
Conduct’s e-learning modules address relevant inclusion pain points such as language, behavior, appropriate workplace culture and more. Get your teams started on their their inclusion journey with Conduct today.