The words we use at work matter. If you want to be inclusive and welcoming, you need to use language that doesn’t alienate people. The Human Resources Director website has some advice for encouraging inclusive language throughout your organization:
Practice Empathy. Think before you speak. Ask yourself how you’d like to be addressed or treated in another person’s shoes. Think about what other people confront daily and use language that focuses on them as individuals, not members of a group.
Pay Attention. Look at the world outside your organization to understand what’s going on. Explore issues that can deepen your understanding of different groups, their struggles, and the best language to use when communicating with them. The more you learn, the more inclusive your language will become.
Point Out Non-Inclusive language. You don’t have to be confrontational. When you see or hear something problematical, take the person aside and calmly point out how their words might be sending a potentially offensive message. Most reasonable people will listen with an open mind if you’re diplomatic, and will adjust their language accordingly.