It can be a daunting experience entering a room full of strangers and many people avoid business networking events. This can often slow progression and can ultimately lead to businesses and entrepreneurs missing out on opportunities.

Over the past couple of years we have attended many networking events, with a varied success rate. The events have helped us build connections with the right people where we have collaborated to support their business and The Accessible Guide.

When an organisation plans a networking event it is important to know the access requirements of potential attendees. From our experiences, there have only been a couple of organisations that have asked this question.

Under the Equality Act 2010, disability is recognised as a ‘protective characteristic’ and organisations that create networking events have a legal obligation to ensure their events are inclusive and accessible to all.

During the planning stages businesses can ensure they adhere to their responsibilities and the first thing to consider would be the venue. There have been networking events that I have been unable to attend due to the venue being inaccessible, so whilst it may sound obvious to host an event at an accessible venue, this doesn’t always occur.

The minimum access requirements for this should include a step-free or ramped entrance and the provision of an accessible toilet facility.

Another important factor businesses should consider is the communication requirements of attendees, this could include the provision of a hearing or induction loop system or the provision of information in a suitable format. There are guidelines for printed materials that can improve the inclusivity of an event. The guidelines are:

  • Align text to the left.
  • Use a sans serif font starting at size 12pt, ideally 14pt.
  • Don’t use italics.
  • Include at least one space between lines.
  • Don’t hyphenate words or phrases.
  • Avoid text over images.

It is important to remember there are many hidden disabilities, where individuals may require additional requirements. The event registration process is an opportunity for businesses to collect this information. If businesses are aware in advance of any additional access requirements, they can ensure the event is welcoming and inclusive by removing any potential barriers.

When everything has been finalised it is time for organisations to consider how their event is promoted. We welcome organisations to collaborate with The Accessible Guide that will allow us to showcase their events in a more inclusive and welcoming format.

Businesses that are welcoming and inclusive to disabled people can tap into a £249 billion revenue stream called the Purple Pound, which is the combined spending power of disabled people in the United Kingdom. Prioritising inclusion is not just the correct thing to do, it is the smart thing to do, and The Accessible Guide can support your business along the way.



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