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Accessibility Guidelines for Speakers

These are general guidelines that will be useful in preparing to speak or teach persons with visual or hearing impairments.

  1. Be aware that when presenting to an audience which may include people with visual, learning and cognitive disabilities that all visuals need to be described verbally.
  2. Ensure that all visual aids are printed in as large a size as possible. To maximize legibility, powerpoint slides and transparencies should not have more than eight lines of text.
  3. In general, please use the amplification system provided. Not only will it make it easier for everyone to hear you, but it is the only way for those using assistive listening equipment to have access. If you do not like to speak at a podium, please inquire if there is a wireless mic available. They are currently available in LPAC (Pearson-Hall and Cinema) and both Science Center Lecture Halls.
    • Repeat all questions asked into the microphone before answering them so that all members of the audience may hear.
    • Face the audience when you speak and avoid putting your hands over your mouth so that those who lip-read can understand you.
    • Ensure that only one audience member speaks at a time.
  4. If you are working with sign language interpreters, please:
    • Ensure that the interpreter can be seen when the lights are dimmed
    • Do not walk in front of interpreters while they are signing
    • Be sure to slow your speaking rate if you are a rapid speaker
    • Speak directly to the person, not to the interpreter, when addressing a person using an interpreter
    • Spell unusual terms, names and foreign words
    • When using slides, overheads or referring to handouts, allow extra time to look at each item when you are finished discussing it. (People using interpreters cannot examine items and watch the interpreter at the same time.)

With thanks to: Kailes, June and Jones, Darryl, A Guide to Planning Accessible Meetings.