Are You Setting Expectations for Event Attendees?


November 2, 2023

Hosting an event is an exciting opportunity to bring people together, share knowledge, and build connections within your industry. However, it is important to ensure inclusivity and safety for all participants. One way to achieve this is by creating a comprehensive code of conduct for your event. A code of conduct sets expectations for behavior, promotes a respectful environment, and helps prevent and address any issues that may arise.

Why is a Code of Conduct Important?

Creating a Safe Environment: Whether your event is in person or virtual, it brings together a diverse range of participants, including exhibitors, attendees, and staff. A code of conduct sets clear guidelines on expected behavior, promoting a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. It helps prevent incidents of harassment, discrimination, or any form of abusive behavior.

Encouraging Professionalism: Your event is a professional setting where attendees gather to network, establish business relationships, and showcase their products or services. A code of conduct reinforces the importance of maintaining professionalism, both in interactions and in the representation of one's brand or organization.

Preventing Discrimination: You’ll be attracting people from various backgrounds, cultures, and identities. Having a code of conduct that explicitly prohibits discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation, tradeshow organizers can ensure an inclusive space where all participants feel respected and welcome.

Addressing Offensive Behavior: A code of conduct establishes a framework for handling any instances of offensive behavior that may occur during the event. It provides a clear process for reporting incidents, investigating complaints, and taking appropriate action to address and resolve any issues or conflicts that may arise.

Protecting Reputation: An event’s reputation can significantly impact its success and your associations image. By having a code of conduct in place, organizers demonstrate their commitment to providing a high-quality experience for all participants. This helps build trust, attract reputable exhibitors, and encourage attendees to return for future events.

Legal Compliance: In some jurisdictions, having a code of conduct may be a legal requirement for events. Compliance with laws regarding workplace harassment, discrimination, and safety is crucial to avoid legal consequences. A code of conduct helps ensure that the event adheres to these legal obligations.

Setting Expectations: A code of conduct clearly communicates the behavior expected of all participants, including exhibitors, attendees, and staff. It enhances transparency, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings, and setting a standard for conduct that aligns with the values of the event and industry.

Guidelines for Creating a Code of Conduct

Before starting, explore existing codes of conduct to gather inspiration and learn from best practices. Consider looking at similar events or organizations within your industry for guidance. You'll want your code of conduct to align with your event's values and inclusivity goals, and to clearly communicate your commitment to providing a respectful and safe environment for all participants.

When creating the code, make sure to touch on various aspects, including but not limited to:

  • Respectful Communication: Encourage participants to communicate respectfully, fostering an open and inclusive dialogue while discouraging any form of harassment or bullying.
  • Inclusive Language: Urge attendees to use inclusive language and avoid making assumptions or offensive comments regarding race, gender, religion, disability, or any other protected characteristics.
  • Unacceptable Behavior: Clearly outline specific behaviors that are strictly prohibited, such as physical or verbal harassment, discrimination, or any form of violence.
  • Reporting and Accountability: Provide clear instructions on how to report any concerns or violations and outline the consequences for breaching the code of conduct.

In addition, you'll want to ensure your code of conduct is accessible to all participants by using clear language and alternative formats such as audio or video versions. In order for attendees to know about it, make your code of conduct highly visible before, during, and after the event. Include it on your event website, registration forms, and email communication, ensuring that all participants are aware of its existence and significance.

And, of course, establish a process for handling reports of misconduct, including a designated point of contact and the steps that will be taken to address the issue. Your participants will want assurance that their concerns will be taken seriously and provide appropriate support as needed.



Creating a code of conduct for your event is an essential step in fostering inclusivity, promoting safety, and ensuring a respectful environment for all participants. By clearly communicating expectations and consequences, participants can feel confident in attending and contributing to your event. Remember, a code of conduct is a living document that should be reviewed regularly to ensure its relevance and effectiveness. 

Share This:

Newsletter Sign Up

Receive regular updates in your inbox.
Sign up for our newsletter!

Subscribe Here!

Discover more blog articles


As seasoned association members transition into retirement or reduced participation, engaging younger demographics becomes crucial for maintaining...


How many emails are you getting each day? Based on that number, how many emails do you think our members – and prospects -- are receiving? We ask...


In an era where innovation and adaptability are keys to thriving, your organization deserves a partner that understands your unique challenges and...


How can we help your association succeed

Complete the form and we'll connect with you right away.