Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Making Presentations

by Donna J. Jodhan

When it comes to making presentations, there are a few tips that I would like to pass on based on my years of experience in the mainstream workplace. For the sighted employer and their sighted employees, if there is a blind or sight impaired person in your audience, you would need to find ways to communicate the contents of your visual displays and foils to these persons. One quick way to do this is to ensure that you fully describe everything that is listed on your display or foil. If you have printed handouts to pass along, then it may be a good idea to send these along to your blind and sighted guests before making your presentation.

You may be saying to yourself; then how would you know before hand if there are going to be any persons in your audience who is blind or sight impaired and it's a very good question. Here is where the person requiring such accommodations would need to play their part. If they want to be accommodated then they would need to let the presenter know in a reasonable timeframe. It is what I call a combined effort. A blind or sight impaired person should never assume that the presenter would always be aware of what types of accommodations need to be provided. This being said, I will make one very important addition to this last point.

If the presenter is either from a Federal or provincial Government department, then it is not wrong to assume that he/she should be aware of the types of accommodations that are needed in the case of blind and sighted members of an audience and my suggestion is that a team effort be employed to ensure that everything runs smoothly. On the part of the presenter, make sure that you are fully armed with all necessary accommodations no matter what and in the case of the blind or sight impaired person, it does not hurt to gently remind your employer that you need for the presenter to make their presentations with you in mind.

When I worked for IBM Canada I often had to make presentations and in one of my first presentations, I used a Braille foil to demonstrate my need and bring home my point. I put up a foil with Braille dots and said to my audience: "If anyone can read this foil, I'll take you out for lunch." My audience quickly got the point.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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