I recently sent this message out to all my databases because it’s really important and is relevant to everyone no matter what part you play in the event planning process from audience to speaker to creator to coordinator.
I’m talking about accessibility and the simple things that can make life really difficult for some people.
In a Facebook group I’m in I read a post today from someone who is hearing impaired. They were reminding the group to ask everyone who speaks publicly at your event, to please use the microphone, whether you think you can project your voice or not. She goes on to describe a session she was in where the presenter refused the microphone, stating they had a “teachers voice” but to let them know if you couldn’t hear them. I won’t go into it all and you can read the post here if you would like to dive deeper, but before you do, I would love you to read on.
I’ve only just begun a journey of discovery into accessibility and inclusion and my lack of awareness has astounded me. But I’m lucky to be surrounded by really kind people who are generous, forgiving and educating on all the ways we can make our events easy for everyone to participate in.
I have a few different tools that I have used in the past, that I have put together in a checklist. As every situation is different, I highly recommend you create your own and this document by NSW Dept of Premier and Cabinet has some great resources. I also found this one from University of Queensland in relation to culturally inclusive events. That guide was particularly helpful during my stint as a Protocol Officer at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
But it really is just about the simple things and being aware – so if you’re at an event and someone wants to speak without a microphone, put your hand up and insist they use one, and remind them there may be hearing impaired people in the room. I did this the other day at an event as an audience member, and the speaker thanked me for reminding them to be more aware.
I hope these resources help you and if you’re interested in my coaching, consulting, or production, please drop me a line or visit my website.
Until next time, happy #3EVENTing and of course if you would like to join my mailing list and get newsletters like this straight to your inbox click here.