Inclusive Language: What It Is and How You Can Use It

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When potential clients read your blogs, email newsletters, social media captions, or speak to you during a consultation, they want to feel welcomed by your practice. With neutral, inclusive language that welcomes each new client, you not only generate more business but generate better business that earns you a high reputation in the community.

What is Inclusive Language?

Inclusive language avoids biases, slang, and expressions that discriminate against people based on their age, race, gender, or socioeconomic background. Here are a few examples of how you can use inclusive language in your practice.

Avoid Acronyms

Avoiding acronyms will make your marketing clearer and create a more welcoming atmosphere within the office. If your team uses certain acronyms or phrases for equipment, job titles, etc., new employees will not know what those acronyms mean and may feel left out.

Use Plain Language

There are a lot of medical terminologies that sound like another language to people who are not medical professionals. Instead of encouraging people to get a blepharoplasty, use the term “eyelid surgery” so that they will better understand and not feel intimidated or embarrassed to ask what “blepharoplasty” means. You should also avoid metaphors when discussing procedures with a patient so that they have a clear understanding of what that procedure and the recovery will involve.

Avoid “She”/”Him”

Although some doctors, such as an OB/GYN, only work with one gender, most plastic surgeries or cosmetic procedures can be performed on anyone. Many men feel uncomfortable receiving certain aesthetic procedures such as Botox or chemical peels because a lot of marketing is geared toward women. With inclusive language that simply refers to the general population as “they,” everyone feels that they can receive the services they want.

Gender-Neutral Labels

Gender-neutral labels should also be used in conversation, both with your coworkers and patients. Instead of asking whether someone has a girlfriend or boyfriend, ask about their partner or spouse. On patient forms, you can consider asking for a guardian or parent as an emergency contact instead of a mother or father since that person may come from a same-sex household. You can also ask your patients to share their pronouns, but make sure they do not feel obligated to share this information.

Reflect Diversity in Your Designs

People want to see other people like them doing the things they want to do. The representation of certain groups of people, such as minorities or those with disabilities, is often lacking. Businesses that lack diverse representation deter a large client pool who don’t think your practice will be right for them.

Mindfulness of Terms

There are many terms used daily that we do not realize have roots in racism and discrimination. For example, the original meaning of pow wow is a sacred Native American ritual or ceremonial event but this term is often used to describe meetings or get-togethers. Although you might not have intended to be offensive, the use of “pow wow” in that manner disregards indigenous culture.

How You Can Incorporate Inclusive Language

At Digital Limelight Media, our team of marketing specialists, content writers, and web designers will help you create an inclusive brand that welcomes all patients. Visit us online or give our office a call at 616.222.3735 to learn about all the services we offer, from website design to CRM to video editing.