Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Inclusive Language Practices

Inclusive Language Practices

What's the big deal saying "Hey, guys!" Who cares about pronouns? It's just a word, right? This talk highlights some of the best reasons and practices for using inclusive language, and how it can improve both team dynamics AND user experiences through empathy.

Marje Holmstrom-Sabo

January 31, 2022
Tweet

More Decks by Marje Holmstrom-Sabo

Other Decks in Business

Transcript

  1. MARJORIE HOLMSTROM-SABO Inclusive Languag e Practices

  2. Introduction INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE PRACTICES - I prefer she/her pronouns. -

    I am a communications professional with 
 background in engineering and programming. - I take care of people and business operations at Tighten, and you might know me as @minn_ fi nn on Twitter. - This talk is biased toward people who speak English as their fi rst language. My name is Marje Holmstrom-Sabo. I prefer she/her pronouns. Communications professional with background in engineering and programming. In my current role, I take care of people and business operations at Tighten, and you might know me as @minn_ fi nn on Twitter. This talk is biased toward people who speak English as their fi rst language.
  3. INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE PRACTICES Meta Introduction - Identity - Credibility -

    Connection - Friend or foe? An introduction to that introduction… An introduction establishes these things: - identity (Who is this person speaking to you? Shared my name / pronouns) - credibility (What makes me believable? Shared my professional background) - connection (How might we be connected to each other? Context of work and twitter o ff ered) - Friend? Or Foe? An introduction is our fi rst opportunity to connect with the person we are speaking to
  4. INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE PRACTICES SHE/HER HE/HIM THEY/THEM Words Matte r When

    meeting Choosing similar words and vocabulary
 indicates:
 
 - respect for the other person
 - empathetic response
 - active listening
 - recognition of di ff erence
 - equal footing as peers
 Pronouns Vocabulary Base assumptions Understanding Okay - now think in your head what you would say to introduce yourself to me. If my words helped you feel welcome, you might say similar things in response - “My name is Matt. I prefer he/his pronouns, and I also use twitter and enjoy welcoming people to this community!” In that example, you’ve picked up on words I used, chose a similar structure, and in doing those things - demonstrated to me - respect - you responded in kind - empathetic response - you chose similar structure - active listening - you paid attention - recognition of basic di ff erences - your pronouns aren’t the same - equal footing as peers - seek commonality, not dominance
  5. The Guidelines for Inclusive Language, published by the Linguistic Society

    of America (LSA) de fi ne inclusive language as language that “acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to di ff erences, and promotes equal opportunities.” Inclusive Language Guidelines for Inclusive Language: “Acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to di ff erences, and promotes equal opportunity” At its most basic, inclusive language really means using words that help people feel like friends, not foes.
  6. INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE PRACTICES Commonly use d But not inclusive “Hey,

    guys” “master” “My dudes” “Ladies and Gentlemen” “Hey, Guys” “Ladies and Gentlemen” “My dudes” “master” I think we’ve all heard these phrases, and probably used them. I called these out because each of them makes an assumption about the audience reading or hearing it. Not everyone is a guy, a lady, a gentleman, a dude. Master immediately calls to mind dominance, not equality. While there may be times when these words or phrases could be used inclusively - they don’t indicate a diversity of thought or audience, especially in a fi rst encounter and we’ve got SO many other options because English is nothing if not ridiculously burdened with many many words.
  7. INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE PRACTICES Supervillians Humans Team Friends All y’all Y’all

    Folks Ne w Option s To try Y’all All y’all Folks Humans People Team Friends Supervillains (best saved for gatherings of self-identi fi ed supervillians) Main or primary 
 - Words that don’t assume a default gender, a speci fi c heirarchy or dominance, and invite the audience to feel included 
 

  8. INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE PRACTICES Future Practice Points - Share your own

    pronouns and listen for the pronouns of others - Look out for words that imply a default gender - Accept that language changes to serve the people who use it - If you make a mistake, correct yourself quickly and continue Share your own pronouns: Listen and use the pronouns shared with you, and recognize that as a mark of respect and trust in you
 Look out for words and phrases that imply a default gender or imply dominance in a group of people you are addressing, and seek alternatives
 Accept that language changes to serve the people who use it - otherwise, it’s a dead language taught by classics professors.
 If you make a mistake, correct yourself quickly and move on. Don’t apologize repeatedly and center your mistake - honor the correction and the person and know it becomes easier with practice
  9. INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE PRACTICES Conclusion The words you choose in everyday

    conversation are your most
 powerful tool in helping those around you feel welcome, safe and important. Being inclusive with language is about inviting people in for discussions, not making assumptions. Remember that this isn’t about being right or wrong - it’s about being welcoming, respectful, and trustworthy. The words you choose actively shape the way you think and are your MOST powerful tool in helping those around you feel welcome, safe, and important. People who feel safe can spend less time sorting out the friend or foe? fi ght/ fl ight/freeze? And more time creating stronger relationships and products with colleagues and clients.
  10. INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE PRACTICES Reference s and reading Inclusive Language: https://counseling.northwestern.edu/blog/inclusive-language-

    guide/
 
 Building Rapport: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/rapport.html Active Listening: https://positivepsychology.com/active-listening/ Pronouns Matter: https://www.edi.nih.gov/blog/communities/what-are-gender- pronouns-why-do-they-matter References links used in prepping this talk, and a starting point for continued learning.
 
 I’ll share these on twitter after my talk.
  11. Inclusive Language Practices 
 Thanks to my colleagues at Tighten

    for their inclusive practices and support in prepping this talk.
 
 Thanks to everyone who donated a ticket to the scholarship program.
 
 Thanks to all of you for listening! Go forth, and be friendly!