Delivering Inclusive Presentations

When developing and delivering a presentation, it is important to think inclusively about the diverse people that will be in your audience. While not at all an exhaustive list, the tips below are designed to help you develop a presentation that is accessible to as many folks as possible. 

  • Ensure materials are accessible
    • Follow accessibility guidelines for all slides and handouts that you’ll give participants access to. Remember that some participants will use a screen reader or other assistive technology to interact with the materials.
    • Make closed captions available through Zoom auto-transcription or your transcriptionist.
    • Ensure that any videos you show have accurate captions. If you have auto-transcription turned on in Zoom, this will result in 2 sets of captions. Remind participants how to turn on and off the Zoom captioning so they can better manage the double captioning.
  • Start with inclusion in mind
    • If you’re on Zoom, start by asking if attendees can see and hear you to ensure your audio and video are working properly
    • Not all participants will be able to see you, so include pronouns and a description of yourself in your introduction. The description serves a similar function to adding alt text to images. For example, you may say something like ‘I’m Amy Ort, and I use she/her/hers pronouns. I am a white woman with short brown hair and glasses with a black frame. I’m wearing a pink polo shirt. I am in my office and behind me, you can see a bookshelf.’
  • If you show it, say it
    • To be as accessible as possible to all fellows who may need disability accommodations, be sure you describe images and charts that you display in your presentation. Avoid pointing at things and saying ‘this’ or ‘that’ without a full description: for example, ‘This is a picture of our keynote speaker addressing the crowd at last year’s conference’.
  • Avoid gendered language
    • When referring to the audience, instead of ‘guys’, try ‘everyone’ or ‘y’all’
  • Always use the microphone
    • If presenting in person, always use a microphone even if you don’t feel like you need it
  • Give time for people to think
    • When you ask a question, leave adequate time before allowing folks to respond. Some internet connections cause a slight delay for audio and others may be reading the transcript or relying on an interpreter, which can take extra time before folks are ready to answer questions.
  • Think ahead
    • If you are planning small group discussions or activities, think about potential accessibility challenges so that everyone can feel included
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