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Inclusive language is an important part of any discussion whenever we are talking about inclusive marketing.

So much so that it was one of the very first episodes that I covered. It was episode number 15, way back when, with my guest, Naila King. I’m gonna drop a link to that in the show notes for you in case you haven’t covered that. But it’s been almost 100 episodes later, and I think it’s time that we covered inclusive language again.

This time, from a different lens. My guest today is an expert in linguistics and really brings an interesting view and framework to help you figure out how to apply inclusive language to what you’re doing.

So it’s a perfect highlight to that original episode, episode number 15, on inclusive language, and this one covers it from a different angle and gives you that framework.

So it gives you some confidence in terms of what it is that you need to help you know if what you’re saying is the right thing and if it will draw people closer to you rather than pushing them away.

So after this short break, you will hear from my esteemed guests as we talk all about inclusive language.

Sonia: Hey, Suzanne. Thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: I am doing well. I am so excited to be here and talking with you today.

Sonia: We are gonna have a great time. We had to finally start press and record. We’ve been chatting it up a little bit. We’re like, wait, wait, wait. Like, we need to let the people in.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: Yes. We’re gonna capture this because we’re already going deep.

Sonia: I know. So, before we get too far into it, let the people know who are you and what you do.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: Sure. My name is Suzanne Wertheim. Sometimes I go by Doctor Suzanne Wertheim. I’m a former professor of linguistic anthropology.

In 2011, I left UCLA because I was so tired of super useful stuff being stuck locked behind academic doors and elite academic doors too. Right? I was so tired of it because there were things that were so useful that my former students were emailing me, like, 7 years later and still applying things I had taught them in intro courses.

So I was like, I gotta get this out to the people. So I founded my own consulting company called Worthwhile Research and Consulting, and I specialize in inclusive language.

And one of the reasons we’re talking today is I just published a book called The Inclusive Language Field Guide so it can get out even further. The benefit of this academic knowledge is that it is very easily applied.

Sonia: Yeah. So I’m so excited to chat because I feel like people kind of have an idea of inclusive language in their mind, but I feel like it’s a very limited view of inclusive language. So I wanna let’s just start and get it out there. What is inclusive language?

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: So I believe inclusive language is a set of behaviors, not a list of words. Not what the dictionary tells you, but a list of communication behaviors that if you follow those behaviors, communication is going to go well.

You’re going to improve your relationships with people. And I contrast inclusive language with what I call problematic language, which harms relationships. Right? It lowers trust. It can drive people away. It can make people feel offended. It can really harm or even end relationships with people.

Sonia: Yeah. Basically, from any info marketing standpoint, it is all about relationships, whether or not people are thinking about it

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: Everything.

Sonia: In that manner or not? And especially as brands are trying to build relationships with people who are from communities that are historically underrepresented or underserved, and in a lot of instances, communities that they aren’t a part of, communication and effective communication becomes critical. I’m curious about what non-inclusive language from a brand standpoint and what has been, sort of, non-inclusive language from a brand standpoint and what has been sort of the output or the impact of that.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: Yeah. And let me even add to that. Because you were like when marketing is devised by people who are not members of a group but is designed to apply to a group, that can fail badly. I’ve got 2 examples. 1, I don’t wanna be too specific about it because we’re in talks to have them bring me in.

But there was a museum-type institution that wanted to appeal to the Internet and, I believe, black people. And so they referred to something popular at their museum, and they’re like, oh, log, she comes in and, like, used thick with 2 c’s.

You’re making a face for those of you with the audio. And they got reamed by reamed by Twitter when it was still called Twitter. Right. Reamed. Right? Because and you all you have to do is look at this staff.

You know, you can go to the museum staff and look at the staff. And you’re like, that’s that’s all white folks or not white folks, but certainly no black folks.

So there was this idea that to appeal to people in another demographic, you had to quote-unquote use their language.

And that language was going to be, African American Vernacular English. Right? Which is one way we call it. So this style that people themselves didn’t really control and they weren’t licensed to use. So that’s one example. I don’t know if you have anything you wanna chime in on that because I don’t know if you’ve seen

Sonia: Oh, I have so much like this. We’re taking a turn, but I love that we should take the turn. Let’s get into this part. So I did an episode, recently, which was all about ethics and inclusive marketing.

And one of the things that I had talked about was a lot of times brands are engaging in some degree of appropriation, cultural appropriation, and they’re not even realizing it whenever they’re using certain terminology from communities that they are a part of, and it feels inauthentic.

And so I wanted to find out from your academic background and point of view, are there rules associated with this type of thing and using language in a manner that, you know, supports a relationship versus one that, kind of, like, throws barriers up?

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: I mean yeah. So I’ve got 6 principles of inclusive language that’s what my book is structured around. That’s what my workshops are structured around. That’s what my talks are structured around. So let me just go through them. Because if you go through, they’re kind of like a safety checklist. Right? And so the principles reflect reality. That’s that’s the absolute most basic one.

And then they show respect. That’s the second most frequently violated one. Then draw people in as opposed to marginalizing them. And then it gets a little more nuanced. Right? So incorporate other perspectives.

And then prevent erasure because there’s so much out there that pretends like there are only 1 or 2 kinds of people in the world. And then finally recognize pain points. So let me give you an example. It’s not marketing, but it’s still a brand and that’s SNL.

So when you and I are talking very the most recent episode was hosted by, oh, I’ve never heard his name. I’m gonna say his name is Rami Yousef.

I may be pronouncing it wrong. Right? But, he’s an actor and a comedian and he is Muslim. And, so they did a sketch called Ozempic for Ramadan. Right? Because we’re currently in the month of Ramadan. So if you’re a Muslim, you are fasting from morning until night.

And so, it’s filled with jokes and talking about haram and Ozempic and how to make your fast better. And so I thought it was very funny. I did my dissertation research with, Muslim people in Russia and saw what Ramadan was like and went to a mosque and did all these things.

I’m myself, I’m not Muslim, but I have some adjacency. Right? So I could I got the joke. As as far as I can get. But reading the comments, it’s a 2-minute sketch and people are like, I am in tears watching this. Right? I finally feel seen.

I have never seen a representation of my people like this where we’re not just terrorists.

Right? People are like, I’m a Muslim with diabetes and I approve of this message. People and they had they had black Muslims represented. They blacked out. So they’re like, oh, like, they’re you took the time to represent differently. It was so done from an inside perspective.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: And it’s so different from, let me give you not marketing, but again, media, they have so much in common. Right? Then, the television program Homeland years ago was not great in terms of Arab representation and was very Arabophobic and Islamophobic.

And they hired people to write graffiti and write things on walls. So they’re like, oh, let’s get in Arab speakers. And they wrote things like Homeland is racist, homeland is Islamophobic. They wrote in Arabic.

There was so little knowledge on the inside that they’d already, like, they had already disenfranchised and made so many people that they didn’t care if they never worked again in Hollywood for the city. But they were like, I’ll burn that bridge because I don’t care because I’d rather get that in. Right? So they’re not marketing, but regular television media and marketing media have everything in common.

Sonia: Right. Right. Yeah. So, it’s I love how you went through those principles because it does go beyond just, can we say this? Can we say that? Is it appropriate? Is it not? It helps people take more of a full-on holistic view, which is something that is in keeping with how we want our brand to show up. Go ahead. Sorry.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: Oh, no. I’m just thinking about, like, let me give an example that probably won’t show up in media in in media, but but I know that you’re talking to everybody in the orbit of marketing. So it’s colleagues in addition. Because marketing agencies and advertising agencies are the sites of horrible, horrible, when I was looking for examples in my book, I got an ad agency example that’s so brutal in involving sexual harassment and dismissal of women. Like, I know how toxic those workplaces can be. So one example is the word articulate. Right? So I have a workshop that I co-run with a black colleague. I’m not black, ambiguously, ethnic light tan, dark tan, whatever, depending on the month.

But so we go through how when people have called me articulate, it’s never been a problem. I am articulate and I’ve got a PhD in linguistics. Right? I’m using words. Like, I’m using words. Right? So people are like, oh, you’re so articulate.

I like I’ve never heard it described that way before. And so my black colleague is like, sometimes when people say articulate to me, she’s also an unbelievable speaker and so profound as a thinker. Right? So, she’s like, sometimes when people say articulate to me, I know it’s a real compliment.

She’s like, but other times. Right? So even with the word like articulate, which sometimes people are like, don’t ever say articulate to a black person. And by the way, if anyone listening, I’ll just spell it out.

If anyone listening doesn’t understand why it’s problematic to say you’re so articulate to a black person, I go over this book in the book, but it’s a pseudo compliment most of the time because people are shocked that the black person either speaks the standard dialect or is saying intelligent things because of negative stereotypes

Sonia: Right.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: About black people dialect intelligence. So

Sonia: Yeah. No. There are so many layers to that, and I you know, whenever you said articulate, like, I articulate, like I initially I immediately had this reaction because I know I’ve been on the receiving end of that quite a few times, and I think 98% of the time, it’s one of those pseudo compliments. Right?

It does not feel good. I want to go back a little bit to the framework that you mentioned. The first one that you said was about how it reflects reality. And I think that that’s where a lot of times people get hung up.

Sonia: I saw something where we were using examples. Now more and more brands are trying to engage with Gen Z. Right? And as we think about Gen Z, and their lingo, and the terminology, and most brands, their reality isn’t to speak in the manner that Gen Z does. So to do so too, I guess, try to feel like you’re being cool or an example that you gave before where that museum was, you know, speaking in what they perceived to be AAVE, it didn’t reflect the reality of what seems. So does that mean more of the way that your brand speaks normally, or is that a combination of even who you have on your team?

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: I mean, I think it’s very much about so the principles are about context. Right? So what that example with articulate I gave is to show that some words are completely off limits. Like, no. Like, we’re done with them. They’re antiquated or they’re offensive. We’re gone. Like, done.

Like, for example, I’m recommending getting rid of Oriental because it centers on whiteness and it centers Europe, and Asia is its place. Right. And, plus, the history of Orientalism is gruesome

Sonia: Yeah.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: In so many ways. And it’s based on saying that people in these countries are savages who deserve to be conquered and ruled by and exploited by people from Europe. Right? So it’s got a very dark history.

So I’m like, hey. Stop saying oriental rug. Like, don’t say oriental chicken salad. Like, it’s so basic, but so I’m like oriental, like, it’s trash. Like, let’s the history is not we’re not gonna reclaim it.

Like, it’s done. Gone. Okay. But other things are more contextual. And I’m gonna tell you that people have an incredibly well-defined sense of who speaks their language.

So I’m originally from Long Island, so I grew up talking like this. Right? I had a real accent that I got rid of as soon as I moved to North Carolina for college. But it is an accent that is frequently it’s adjacent to Brooklyn and, you know, or in New Jersey.

Like, it is frequently represented in the media by people who are not native speakers, and they’ll be doing fine. And then there’s the one word where it isn’t right and they slip up.

And you’re like, oh, absolutely not from here. Well, guess what? There are generational dialects too. Right? And so it takes so little people are so sensitive, so sensitive to are you a native speaker of the language?

And they know if you are or aren’t. Just like very honestly with that museum posted, if an actual black person had posted it well, I mean, I can’t judge. But to me, it didn’t seem wrong. Like, I’ve collected mistakes.

There are a lot of people who, think that African American ways of speaking have no grammar, have no rules, or broken English. There are many decades of very well-documented, very refined rules, and very complex, equally complex syntax.

Any way that you can define a language as being grammatical, African American ways of speaking are grammatical from a linguist’s perspective. Right? So too with Generation Z stuff. And so people will catch a word and be like, oh, here’s this word, and they’ll use it. And then it’s just it can be not right or it can be not enough to say to people, oh, it’s like, hello, fellow kids.

You know, the Steve Buscemi meme where he’s not he’s looking in his forties with a skateboard or, you know and he’s like a youth minister will try to use young people’s slang and it’s or a parent. And, like, it’s, I don’t know if we’re still saying cringe, but pea-like, the teenagers could not be more horrified. Right?

Sonia: Yes.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: Like, everything about this is disgusting, and it’s because Mhmm. They’re not licensed to speak in that way. And so it’s wrong. It feels wrong and it’s alienating and it’s not in grouping because they’re not in a group.

Sonia: It’s not reflecting the reality of what it is that they yeah. Get that. I have, a 17 oh, my gosh—newly 17 year old niece. And there are times when I’ve said some things to her, and she’s just looking at me like, what are you even talking about?

Like, just do not. So I think that if we think about it in that context, because that’s something that I think from a generational standpoint is easy for people to understand, and we’ve all sort of been there at one point in our lives that, it translates it transcends not just about generations, but to different communities, of course, as well.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: It all translates. And that’s why I have 6 basic principles because what happens is so I’m I’m in talks now with, a very large global financial organization, to do a train the trainers so they can get this out to their people all over the world.

And so I was talking with their in-house head of, of the this the person who would be, you know, running this train the trainers in charge of this kind of developed professional development work. Mhmm. And she said, we just keep on having a new dimension. Like, we add a new dimension. We’re like, okay, disability. Alright.

Now let’s do she goes, and it’s like you could just keep on doing dimensions. And then when you add all the countries they’re in, like, a 100 maybe, maybe more, then how do you switch for what dimension of identity is relevant there? That’s why I have these 6 principles and then you fill in with the specifics for a given identity.

But what I’m showing is that the skeletal underpinnings for behavior are the same regardless of the group you’re in. And, let’s talk intersectionality. Right? A lot of people are members of multiple groups at once. Right?

So if you’re aiming just at one thing, like, if you’re like, oh, let’s get in with black folks, and then you’re gonna say, bitch, a lot. Right? It right?

Like, oh, let’s get it. It’s like, well, are are we are we including all the black folks? Are we you know, like, let’s say you wanna have some kind of rapper-associated thing, but it’s like

Sonia: Right.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: So you gotta be you’ve gotta be contact-sensitive. And so that’s why I have the principles to give you guidelines for the context rather than starting from identity because it’s too much. There are too many people, and guess what? Things change fast.

Sonia: Yeah. Okay. So, you’re recommending that we take an approach of principles. From a marketing standpoint, where you have brand guidelines, you have agencies, you’ve got copywriters, you’ve got several people who were writing and creating communications on behalf of a brand. How do you activate this so that the language is inclusive every time you’re putting something out or even not just putting something out, even anytime you’re communicating with a customer?

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: Right. So one thing is to understand that it’s going to be a series of small improvements. You cannot do it all at once. So a lot of people, especially people who belong to mostly dominant group categories, have what I call a data deficit.

So they haven’t been fed multiple perspectives in their lives. They’ve just been fed the dominant one. So there are a lot of things in the world that are invisible. And suddenly as the curtain gets pulled back, they’re like, I’m overwhelmed.

I don’t know what to do. You know? So, one thing is to understand that it’s a set of small steps. Another thing is that what I do when I work with people is give them my inclusion checklist. Right?

Sonia: Okay.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: So I’m like, here’s the template. You’ve got 6 principles and then here’s a checklist with all the different dimensions of identity that are gonna be relevant to your comms.

And you go through and you make sure can I give you an example of people who clearly did not do that last month?

Sonia:  Absolutely.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: The CEO of Kellogg’s was on CNBC. And he was being interviewed about how they’re faring in the in, like, the recession and what’s going on with their marketing. Like, what’s the what’s the state of Kellogg’s? What are you doing? And he said we’re doing this innovation.

Cereal has always been an affordable destination for people who maybe don’t have a lot of money. Whatever he said, it was carefully said. He’s like, so we’re running this new marketing campaign recommending cereal for dinner instead of other things, and it’s landing well. So I think from his perspective, very innocuous.

Right? And, then I went and I watched the ad, which got Tony the tiger coming into a room with a family who are also I think, ambiguously ethnic because they wanna reach all the people. Right? Or maybe poor people aren’t white. I don’t know what it is. And then they’re like, and let’s leave the chicken out of it. And there’s like a chicken. They’re like, let’s not have the chicken. Let’s do cereal instead. So I think it felt innocuous, but why do I know about it? Because there was an Internet firestorm and backlash.

And here’s here’s the context. Right? So I think that people think, oh, we’re gonna be inclusive. He didn’t say anything bad about race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability. Those are the things that people think are about inclusion. Right? If they had my checklist, they would’ve remembered socioeconomic class.

Sonia: Yeah.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: And then they would’ve thought through, if we’re talking to people in a different socioeconomic class, are we doing it in a way that incorporates their perspectives, reflects reality, recognizes Respectful. Is respectful. Right? So Kellogg’s has increased their prices by 12% just in 2023. Kellogg’s is doing shrinkflation.

That dude makes $5,000,000 a year, and he’s standing there. It’s different if they were like, there’s a neighbor who’s like, hey, you know what? I’m finding I’m doing serial once a week and it’s fun for the kids and it’s a way to have a budget break. Right? But instead, this expensively dressed white guy who makes 1,000,000 dollars a year is standing there.

So if you Google his name, it is a a personal brand nightmare.Everything it’s like it’s like 1 it’s like 2 pages that are his because, you know, you’re supposed to curate your brand online. And then the rest is like, Gary Pillnick shows a stunning lack of emotional intelligence.

Let them eat flakes. Internet storm about it’s like everything, but page after page after page is negative. And so this is why comms teams, PR teams, and marketing teams need this safety set of checklists. And then also they need to have people who know things.

Where they fall. When you don’t have people in the room or people are too scared. To say something, and then you get a marketing nightmare.

Sonia: Yeah. So here’s my observation from talking to clients, from just engaging and interacting with people is that when it comes to inclusive marketing and communications, people are operating from this crisis prevention.

How do we not screw up? How do we not get canceled? And even this example that you just gave with Kellogg’s, if they felt like they probably did everything right and they’re still in this crisis mode, So then people are just like, inclusion, talking to anybody who’s, you know, not outside of this group that we’re like, it’s just people are scared and they are, as a result, aren’t doing anything.

So I’m curious about your experience and your work because you’ve been, you know, you spent your career doing this. Is it just having this type of framework and having the right team members, you know, or support and partners to get you over that fear-based hump so you’re proactively communicating in a manner that you can feel fairly confident about that you’re, you’re communicating in a way that’s going to be respectful and not cause harm versus just we’re constantly in this fear-based sort of like, let’s not screw it up you

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: don’t even have enough blood in your brain to make good decisions and you can’t learn. You don’t even have enough blood in your brain to make good decisions and you can’t learn.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: And you can’t that’s why, those of us who work on learning and development are, like, you’re trying to always hit that sweet spot of learning, which is if you feel perfectly comfortable, you’re you’re too safe.

You haven’t learned anything. But if you’re frozen in fear, you know, like a standard fear response, that’s not that’s not working either. So you wanna be a little bit uncomfortable. So one thing I do is recommend 2 things to clients again and again. The first is

I recommend 3 things. The first is to practice at home. Yeah. Right? So I give them activities to practice at home. I’m like, practice at home so you feel safe. Like, one thing people are terrified about is pronouns.

So when you’re my age, I’m Gen X, people are freaked out because we grew up with one kind of grammar and now the grammar has changed and it’s a real genuine challenge to our brains. Right? Like if you’ve grown up seeing only he or she refer to a single known person, literally millions of times, It’s gonna take a while to shift.

But I’m like, here’s how to practice it at home. Like, here’s an activity. Practice, practice, practice, practice. And then it’ll be slow. And then if you mess up, be like, oh, sorry, they. My tongue’s still catching up. And then you move forward. I’m like, you don’t make a big deal.

I’m like and people will understand that you’re trying. Like, people who are using they or other pronouns will understand. As long as you’re showing up, there are so many ways that we signal positive intentions that if you set the framework of, I am here to learn, I am here to try, people will forgive mistake after mistake after mistake because they know that you have to if you learn a foreign language, you know you’re gonna make mistakes. Right?

So you have to think of inclusive language skills. That way of acquiring new skills is the same as if you’re learning a language that isn’t English. Right? Yeah. So practice is 1.

2 is set yourself up to be open to feedback. Right? And this is a lot of people are not good at this for all the various reasons. You know?

Sometimes it’s childhood trauma because feedback comes with abuse. Right? And so I’m always like, we gotta give some grace because you never know how many people come from trauma. It’s a lot of people. But you have to set yourself up so people feel comfortable saying to you, hey.

You know what? You keep on saying, hey, guys, to start team meetings, or, hey, you guys. And but we’ve got people who are uncomfortable like those of us who are women aren’t liking it and so and so is non-binary and they’re not liking it.

So could you switch to, like, hey, everyone or hey, team? Right? Some managers are like, oh my goodness. I had no idea. Other managers are like, dinging, resistant.

Sonia: Oh, if we can’t say anything Can’t

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: say anything.

Sonia: You hear that more and more. Yeah.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: But if there isn’t psych safety on your team, then people can’t elevate the concern. And so often people from marginalized groups are lower level because that’s how it works in the industry. Like, we elevate the people from majority groups. Right? That’s why you’ve got more white male John CEOs than women in Fortune 500 companies. Right?

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: And then the last one is just do your research. So every week, you gotta have a little research project. How are you gonna learn something that’s outside of your purview without over-burning somebody? So it’s not like, hey. You’re nonbinary. Educate me about pronouns. Hey. You’re black. What should I not be saying? Like, no.

Especially because if you are gonna be, possibly reactive and, and attack somebody and retaliate about somebody, retaliate against somebody who’s bringing you good information. But you you gotta set up research. So I’m always saying to people at the end of workshops, I’m about to do one tomorrow. One of the breakout discussions includes the question, what is a concrete plan you can make to get more information about one thing that you don’t know enough about? And then I’m gonna make them share it. They’re gonna set up a Wiki in their firm. They’re gonna set up a Wiki and they’re gonna set up a resource sharing thing. So

Sonia: Yeah. I love that—so many practical tips. Of course, I’m gonna include a link to your book in the show notes, so people can get that checklist and get those exercises, and they can get started working on it. I wanna switch gears a little bit as we start to wrap up. And I wanna find out from you if you can share an experience where a brand made you feel like you belonged.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: Wow. I mean, I have a million negative examples.

Sonia: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: So many negative examples. Alright. Here’s a harsh one. Here’s a harsh one. But Dove partnered with some kind of sexual assault, maybe an education or prevention agency, and sponsored an exhibit, called Maybe What We Were Wearing. And they have the clothes of women and girls. Wow. Young girls of what they were wearing when they were sexually assaulted.

And so and I looked to see, I’m even teary thinking about it. Right? Mhmm. Sexual assault is something we talk about so rarely. And yet the marketing world is so centered on the sexualization and objectification of women, including young women. So negative example, comparatively, I was a child when Brooke Shields had her famous ad, there’s nothing between me and my Calvins implying that she was wearing jeans without underwear on. I think she was 12. I think she was 12.

Right? So that wouldn’t fly today. Except adjacent to it. Things like that are happening all the time anyway. Right? So what I get is a constant media barrage, and I lived in LA for 8 years, so it’s even more. Right? A constant media barrage of sexualization and you should be inviting the male gaze and, you know, you should be your job is to be decorative and attractive and sexually appealing. And so that leads to this idea that it’s women and girls’ fault when they’re attacked and sexually assaulted. Right? Like, what was what was she wearing? Or it comes up in court.

Well, what were you wearing? Well, what were you doing? Well, what did you say to him? Right? And so this is, like, rat ratty ass sweatshirts and jeans. And again, chilled like children’s clothes. Right. And so I looked and I’m like, oh, this is the first campaign I’ve seen. And I think it’s only from 2023, maybe 2022. So it’s recent. Like, I don’t remember the last time I saw a brand step up and do something so important and I’ve been living in so I’m short. I was wandering around New York City with a developed body at age 12, you know, in the eighties.

And it was terrifying. It was terrifying. Like, being a short, feminine-looking girl was I mean, it was constant fear and men saying terrible things to me.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: And I’ve never seen anything like that in some kind of I mean, it’s a weird place to go. But Right. I feel like it was a real risk that they took, and I felt seen and, I don’t know, attended to or cared about.

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: I’m like, this is not a fun, fluffy, sparkly, whatever. And I thought they did a great job. So go Dove.

Sonia: But it’s it reflects the reality of so many women and people who have been victims of sexual assault. And I think that we talked about being seen earlier, and I think that just it shows a lot of courage for a brand to showcase, like, we see you in this aspect of your life that impacts so many of your decisions that you have to make. Right?

We probably don’t even realize how many of those decisions that we are making are connected. So I love that. Thank you for sharing that. I have to go and, like, look and see if I can find it. Okay. This has been so fantastic, so delightful.

Any parting words of wisdom for marketing marketers and business leaders who want to do a better job of using inclusive language? Sure. You’re guaranteed to do things wrong if you

Dr. Suzanne Wertheim: don’t do anything. Right? Silence and inaction are not safe. It is unsafe. So you can gather up your courage. You can start small. You can practice. You can do small implementations. You can research so you feel confident and you can’t get it all at once.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Just think, what can I do this week? What can I do this month? Get the ball rolling just a little bit, and you are guaranteed to get positive feedback and positive results.

It can take the tiniest thing that you say to somebody that makes them feel seen, and they’ll come back or you’ll just see how visibly warmer they are with you and how much safer they feel with you.

The results are immediate and I think very often very clear. So that tiny bit of courage, you can do it. Rah, rah, rah. You can do it. I promise you can do it.

Sonia: You can do it. You can do it. Thanks so much, Suzanne, for stopping by and sharing your so much wisdom that you have, and just letting us know that this is possible.

Suzanne had so many wonderful things with this chair. I loved her framework, and I loved how it gives a practical approach to how you’re thinking about whether or not what you’re saying is going to draw the people that you want to serve closer to you rather than pushing them away.

Her framework will help you be in a position where you’re not having to apologize later for some missteps that you said that you didn’t get things quite right. So I’m curious to know what was the thing that stood out most to you as a part of this conversation. Shoot me an email, Send me a DM.

Let’s have a conversation. Let’s continue the conversation. If you’d like the show, I would so appreciate it if you would share it with a friend, colleague, and your network. It really does go a long way towards helping more people discover the show. And if you like it, please do leave a rating and review in your podcast player of choice. That means we’re all working together to ensure more people feel like they belong.

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I’ll also drop a link to that in the show notes for you. Until next time, remember, everyone deserves to have a place where they belong. Let’s use our individual and collective power to ensure more people feel like they do.

Thanks so much for listening.

Talk to you soon.