January 14, 2023

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For inclusive communication, training alone is not enough

…but fortunately there is the continuous support of Textmetrics


It is important to make your communication comprehensible to as wide a group as possible. But do you already consciously take sufficient account of the fact that not everyone in your target audience is the same? It’s not surprising if the answer is ‘no’. The step towards inclusive communication is very difficult to make. Koen Brummelhuis, Customer Success Manager at Textmetrics, talks more about this in this interview.

Koen sets up the smart AI writing software so that users can write high-quality texts. He gives advice where necessary, and implements all customer guidelines in the software. From branding to communication guidelines for inclusive communication, among other things. Because only by communicating inclusively will you really reach your entire target group, says Koen.


Just a quick note: what is inclusive communication again?

Inclusive communication is nothing more than:

  • choosing understandable language;
  • adding explanations in images;
  • and making your communication accessible to people with disabilities.

But as easy as that sounds, unfortunately it is not. Communicating is done on the basis of what you know. You incorporate your own norms, values and beliefs. And you communicate on the basis of what is recognizable to you. With that, it is hardly rational. Whereas to do the right thing – in this case communicating inclusively – you have to make informed choices.


Why is the step towards inclusive communication so difficult to make?

Fixed behaviours are hard to unlearn. You have been communicating based on what you know for so long. A real behavioural change is needed. Inclusive communication is not something you just do on the side. It has to become standard in all communications. You also have to remember that society is constantly changing. So you have to keep asking yourself: do my texts really still appeal to everyone? People of all ages, genders, religions and cultures?


How does such a behavioural change work?

It is not that easy. Of course you can train people to communicate inclusively. But what if colleagues find another job? Then they take their knowledge away with them. And new colleagues will need training again.

And that’s not the only obstacle. Behavioural research shows that discussions, education and training are often only marginally effective in the long run. There are two very human reasons for this:

  • after a while you forget what you learned during training;
  • and you fall back into your old way of communicating.

We don’t do this relapse consciously, but we prefer to keep on behaving the way we always did. Unconsciously ignoring new information turns out to be innate and we all have innate reflexes that block reason.

But how to change behaviour? Social group norms can tempt you to change your behaviour. And influence your immediate environment. It is also important to get concrete information about why you want to change behaviour. And does the language you use and how you do it offer opportunities for behavioural change.


So what is the solution if training is not it?

We are not saying that training is not at all useful and necessary. They help participants understand why inclusive communication is so important. In doing so, they raise awareness. In addition, training is a first step in mastering inclusive writing. But for the longer term, training is not the solution.

To make inclusive communication the standard, continuous support is needed. That is possible with Textmetrics’ Smart AI Writing Software. In our platform for text improvement, you get a text optimiser in which we implement all the advice for inclusive writing for you.

You don’t have to think about inclusive language yourself: we do that for you! All year round, for every text you write. So you can be sure that you always write good, inclusive texts in understandable language that really appeal to your entire target group.

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