Is your conference accessible?

Summertime is conference time! Everyone we know seems to be chatting up where they are going to conferences this summer. Whether it’s Las Vegas, New Orleans or L.A., conferences of every kind are taking place across the country all summer long.

A lot of work goes into planning a conference. From venue choices and scheduling speakers to planning the food and nighttime events, conference planners want their attendees to walk away feeling satisfied with the event and content provided.

If you are a conference planner, what should you do for your attendees that are deaf or hard of hearing? According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one in eight individuals in the US over the age of 12 suffer from hearing loss in both ears. About 20% of Americans of all ages report some degree of hearing loss, and over 28 million adults could benefit from hearing aids according to the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Based on these statistics, we’ve compiled our five best practices for being better prepared for accessibility needs at your next conference.

1. Gather guest information accordingly

The planning stage is a crucial time to appropriately anticipate accessibility. Denote on registration forms/websites whether accommodations are available and what kind. You can also ask what accommodations are needed. This is a great time to discern which sessions need to be captioned.

2. Anticipate needs

Based on the specifics of the registration form, you will be able to plan for the logistics of what needs to be accommodated, such as additional materials, technology, and assistance. This will allow you to arrange for an accessibility seating area, location for captioner and/or interpreters.

3. Budgeting

After determining which accommodations will be offered, there will be additional costs. This should be budgeted for in advance. Making sure your event is diverse and inclusive helps overall revenue for the conference. You will have more attendees! If budget is an issue and you’re trying to minimize costs, offer the opportunity for sponsorship.

4. Support

It’s almost showtime. The plan is set. It is important to have backup support in place during the time of the event for any last-minute accommodations. This is one of Caption Pros’ areas of expertise. We have many years of experience captioning conferences of all sizes and will provide the support you need behind the scenes.

5. Follow Up

Following up after the conference can be as simple as an email survey. Allow attendees to be candid about their experience and make sure every need was met. Based on these responses, you will be better equipped to make changes, if any, for next time.

It is our goal during this conference season that everyone receives compassion, assistance, and support on every level. Being a leader is about being more than just another vendor in the space; it’s about going above and beyond for the inclusion of everyone and making an impact with your message.

Contact us to learn more about captioning services for your conference this summer.