The Inclusive Language Handbook

A Guide to Better Communication and Transformational Leadership

This handbook will help you get comfortable addressing diverse audiences and discussing all aspects of diversity and inclusion. Using this handbook, you will:

  • Learn how to consistently use respectful language that promotes belonging, productivity, and teamwork. 
  • Discover how to drive culture change by spreading the practice of inclusive language throughout your organization.
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What is Inclusive Language?

Inclusive language is finding ways to name and show respect for all people’s experiences and identities. It means making intentional word choices that are respectful and welcoming. 

We often unconsciously make assumptions about people that show up in our word choices. Sometimes, our words can unintentionally reinforce unspoken cultural rules around gender, sexual orientation, race, class, ability, age, and more.

Using inclusive language does not mean being politically correct. Political correctness is focused on not offending. Inclusive language is a way to show you value the cultures, communities, and identities of all people. Political correctness often creates barriers that prevent people from engaging, whereas inclusive language encourages you to connect and communicate with everyone.

Why Inclusive Language Matters

The words we use reflect how we view the world. Sometimes, we choose our words intentionally. Other times, we may not be fully aware of what our word choices imply. 

Our good intentions must match our word choices. Inclusive language enables us to gain confidence in how we communicate about – or refer to – others. 

Thoughtfully chosen words can build powerful relationships. However, in the workplace, harmful language can create a toxic culture, high turnover, and damage reputations permanently.

Whether you are a business owner, executive leader, marketer, speaker, or writer, inclusive language is a critical component of your personal and professional success.

Not Just Another “How To” Guide

The Diversity Movement created this handbook to provide practical, real-world tips and industry-specific insights that will help you use more effective, inclusive language and foster a diverse and inclusive culture. 

You will have the opportunity to: 

  • Explore the what, how, and why of inclusive language. 
  • Learn six essential guidelines for respectful word choice.
  • Understand and avoid common pitfalls that will alienate and offend.
  • Discover best practices for inclusive language regarding gender, sexuality, religion, disability, neurodiversity, physicality, and more. 
  • Gain valuable practice communicating about diverse identities.
  • Find out how to build an inclusive culture through respectful language.
The Inclusive Language Handbook

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