We’ve all used them, decked out in chartreuse cotton tablecloths and twisted into a knot around the middle, tops adorned with chocolates, business flyers and business cards. Bar tables!
A staple of business networking and social events, they are designed to be a convenient spot to place a cold beverage while you wipe your pant leg right before you shake a new contact’s hand, and an easy place from which to work the room.
But dare we call them non-inclusive?
Have we overlooked the fact that the events we often attend include wheelchair users, little people and other individuals with varied height needs? We think that these well-intentioned networking hubs become anything but inclusive. They become opportunities for exclusion.
Bar-height tables make visibility and communication a line-of-sight challenge for wheelchair users and little people. It makes for awkward situations that features shouted “excuse me”s and the decision of whether to tap a person on the elbow or at the waist since their shoulder is out of reach. How would you feel if you spent the entire time at a networking event looking at people’s waists and butts?
Let’s work together to make it possible for everyone to have a level playing field when networking.
Lest anyone roll over any toes, we may want to consider a new paradigm of networking event bar tables. Perhaps two tables of differing heights side by side, cloaked by the same tablecloth but at heights accessible to all. This seemingly minor aesthetic shift creates a wide open avenue for one another to be seen and heard.
Long story short. Why not?