Just as with face-to-face communication, the way we communicate with each other digitally can be exclusive or inclusive.
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Read our four tips below for being more inclusive when communicating digitally.
1. 💬 Start or join a D&I channel in your team comms platform
Make this a place to share and discuss inclusion-related issues, ideas and current events.
This can help overcome people’s reluctance to talk about diversity and build awareness and understanding. It also lets members of underrepresented groups feel D&I issues matter to everyone — even majority groups.
2. 👩🎤 Call out your gender pronouns in your email signature
Gender pronouns are words an individual would like others to use when talking about them (e.g., “her pen” or “they are here”). Common pronouns are gendered (e.g., him/his or she/her). But there are many gender-neutral variants like ze, zie, ve, xe, them and they.
Using your colleague’s preferred gender pronouns is important because, as Steven Huang, former Head of D&I at Culture Amp, says, “For most, their singular and visible gender identity is a privilege. Not everybody has this privilege; those that are referred to with the wrong pronoun can feel disrespected, invalidated, and alienated.”
Include your gender pronouns in your email signature or username. This brings more awareness to pronouns. And some believe it signifies solidarity with the trans community.
📺 Watch this (2.5 minutes)
Hear from trans people about why using their preferred pronouns is respectful and inclusive.
Remember that it’s up to the individual to determine what feels best for them.
🚨 Room for debate: What if no one I know is trans? 🚨
If you are cisgender (your gender identity aligns with your sex assigned at birth) and don’t know anyone who is transgender, you might think that it’d be silly to share your pronouns.
💁 But trust us, it’s not silly.
Sharing your pronouns reminds people (including yourself) to think and talk about pronouns. Plus, it simply shows that you care.
It’s an easy step to take but could have a profound impact on a colleague or a customer.
3. 🕵️♀️ Diversify your media consumption sources
🤳 Are you an avid social media user?
Have you considered that you might be living in an online echo chamber? This is where the media you consume tells you things you already agree with.
GIF by Imma Almourzaeva.
It’s natural to choose similar people to follow online and to tune in to familiar news sources.
But the unintended consequence of this is getting trapped in an echo chamber, where we see everything through the same lens.
📰 Reading news from a source associated with a different viewpoint to get the full scope on an issue you care about
🎧 Listening to podcasts that examine issues from an alternative perspective
📚 Reading a book from a genre you’ve not previously considered
🏄♀️ Learning a new hobby to meet different types of people
4. 💌 Use good email etiquette for after-hours
We all have different priorities, schedules and email habits.
If you’re replying to emails outside of regular working hours (e.g. late in the evening or early in the morning), use a line in your email signature to let your colleagues know that they don’t need to respond right away, like this one:
I work flexibly and sometimes send emails outside typical working hours. Please don’t feel that you need to read, acknowledge or respond outside the times that suit you.
This eliminates the pressure or anxiety some may feel to reply when they notice an email land in their inbox late at night.
🗝️ Your key takeaway
Small changes to late-night emails, the media you read and share, and your email signature can build inclusion.
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