Accommodating attendees that are Deaf or hard-of-hearing is not only a legal requirement, but doing it well can also be a valuable business strategy. You’ll need to find the right people (our specialty), communicate with them effectively, and take some steps to increase the overall accessibility of the event. By making your events accessible to a broader range of attendees, including those who are Deaf or hard of hearing, you can create a more diverse and inclusive environment that benefits everyone. Here are some benefits to consider:
Attract a broader range of attendees: By accommodating attendees that are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, you can attract a broader range of attendees, including those who may not have attended your events in the past due to accessibility barriers.
Enhance your reputation: By providing accessible events, you can enhance your reputation in the events industry as a leader in diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
Increase attendee satisfaction: By providing accessible events, you can increase attendee satisfaction, creating a positive and memorable experience for all attendees.
Finding and Hiring Qualified Interpreters
Hiring qualified interpreters is essential to ensure that attendees that are Deaf or hard-of-hearing have equal access to communication. Imagine the following scenario: You're organizing a conference on healthcare and want to make sure that all attendees, including those who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, can fully participate. You hire an interpreter who is not certified and has no experience in the healthcare industry. As a result, the interpreter struggles to understand and convey technical terms and specialized vocabulary, leaving attendees confused and frustrated. By hiring certified ASL interpreters who have experience in your industry or field, you can ensure that attendees receive accurate and effective interpretation.
Here are some tips to help you find and hire qualified interpreters:
Look for certified ASL interpreters who are registered with national organizations such as the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).
Request references and review the interpreters' work samples to ensure they have experience in your industry or field.
Provide clear expectations, such as dress code, arrival time, and any technical or specialized vocabulary that may come up during the event.
Provide interpreters with all the necessary information about the event, including any schedules or agendas, so they can prepare and provide the best possible interpretation.
Communicating Effectively with Attendees that are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing
Communicating effectively with Deaf or hard-of-hearing attendees is key to making sure they feel included and valued. Imagine the following scenario:
You're organizing a product launch and have arranged for an ASL interpreter, but the event is poorly organized, and attendees are not given clear instructions on how to access interpreting services. As a result, attendees that are Deaf or hard-of-hearing feel isolated and frustrated, missing out on important information and feeling excluded from the event. By providing clear and concise instructions on how to access interpreting services, accessible seating, and written materials or live captioning to supplement interpretation, you can ensure that everyone can participate fully.
Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with Deaf or hard-of-hearing attendees:
Provide clear and concise instructions on how to access interpreting services, including a schedule of events that indicates when interpreters will be available, and how to request their services.
Provide accessible seating, written materials, and live captioning to supplement the interpretation, allowing for multiple forms of communication.
Be patient and speak clearly, facing the person directly when communicating, without over-enunciating.
Work with interpreters to establish a list of technical terms or specialized vocabulary that may come up during the event, helping them prepare in advance.
Making Live Events More Accessible
Making live events more accessible for attendees that are Deaf or hard-of-hearing is essential to ensure that everyone has equal access to communication. Imagine the following scenario: You're organizing a trade show and have provided an ASL interpreter, but attendees find it difficult to see the interpreter or access important information, such as videos or presentations. As a result, attendees that are Deaf or hard-of-hearing miss out on key information, making the event less enjoyable and less productive for them. By ensuring that all materials are accessible, and any potential barriers to communication are addressed, you can create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all attendees.
Here are some tips to make live events more accessible for attendees that are Deaf or hard-of-hearing:
Provide pre-event information about the availability of interpreting services and encourage attendees to request services in advance.
Display the interpreters' names and contact information, and any technical support numbers in a visible location.
Provide interpreters with all the necessary materials, such as PowerPoint presentations, speaker notes, and any videos, in advance of the event.
Ensure all videos and presentations are captioned, and all printed materials are available in large print.
Identify and address potential barriers to communication, working with interpreters to ensure accurate interpretation and equal access to information.
In conclusion, by following these guidelines, event planners and managers can create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all attendees. By hiring qualified interpreters, communicating effectively with Deaf or hard-of-hearing attendees, and ensuring equal access to information, you can make sure that everyone at your live event has an enjoyable and memorable experience. Remember that providing accessible events is not only the right thing to do, but it can also be a competitive advantage, attracting a broader range of attendees and enhancing your reputation in the events industry.
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding events that need to accommodate Deaf or hard of hearing attendees. Please let us know if these answers help, or if there is anything else you’d like to get more clarity on!
Q: How can I determine the accessibility needs of Deaf attendees before the event?
A: One way to determine the accessibility needs of Deaf attendees is to ask them directly. When registering for the event, provide a question or field where attendees can indicate their accessibility needs. You can also reach out to Deaf advocacy organizations or interpreters to get advice and guidance on the accessibility needs of Deaf attendees.
Q: What are some common technical terms or specialized vocabulary that I should provide to interpreters before the event?
A: It's important to provide interpreters with any technical terms or specialized vocabulary that may come up during the event. Some common technical terms may vary depending on the industry or field, so it's important to work with interpreters to identify these terms in advance. It may be helpful to create a glossary or list of key terms and provide this to interpreters before the event.
Q: How can I ensure that my event space is accessible for Deaf attendees, including providing accessible seating and assistive listening devices?
A: When selecting a venue for your event, be sure to consider accessibility features such as accessible parking, elevators, and restrooms. You should also work with the venue to ensure that the event space is equipped with assistive listening devices and that there is accessible seating available. You can also consider providing additional accessibility features such as live captioning or video remote interpreting (VRI) to ensure that Deaf attendees have equal access to communication.
Q: What are some common misconceptions about Deaf culture and how can I avoid making cultural mistakes?
A: One common misconception about Deaf culture is that Deaf individuals are not as intelligent or capable as hearing individuals. This is not true, and Deaf individuals have their own unique language, culture, and history. To avoid making cultural mistakes, it's important to work with qualified interpreters who are knowledgeable about Deaf culture and can provide guidance on appropriate communication and interaction. It's also important to be respectful and open-minded, and to ask questions if you're not sure about something.
By following these tips and being mindful of the needs of attendees who are Deaf, you can create an accessible and inclusive event that benefits everyone involved.