Accessibility: Business Presentations

Categories: 508 Compliance, Accessibility, Disability issues, Government Services

Business Presentations

Laptop on desk with two hands using the keyboard. Cell phone on desk. Office supplies on desk. Pearl logo.At various times throughout our careers, we may be called upon to make a presentation. Whatever field you represent presentations are an excellent tool for distributing information. Whether it is financial figures, product design layouts or even a training presentation. Whatever your chosen subject is, be prepared and make it accessible!

With current business trends toward accessibility and inclusion, it would be advantageous to prepare your presentation with diversity in mind. It is possible that members of your audience may have challenges with hearing or visual impairments. Making a presentation accessible also assists with encompassing learning styles. The information you are sharing will be more easily understood by your audience.

Before You Begin

Choose the program you wish to use to create and organize your presentation. Microsoft PowerPoint is a very popular presentation tool. There are several other programs available as well. Some include Prezi, GoToWebinar.com, slidedog.com, and Google slides. Try a few different programs and use the one you are most comfortable with. Keep in mind that the accessibility portion is not always fully automated. It will require human intervention and tweaking.

It is best to test whatever program you are using with an assistive reader such as NVDA, as it will help you find and address any problem areas. This is the best time to consult a professional.

  • Whether you are presenting a webinar, or an in-person seminar organizers and speakers should ensure that the facility is accessible. Also that the correct equipment is in place and working properly. If it is an online presentation, practice speaking clearly, use descriptions for visual information such as charts or graphs. Keep background noise to a minimum.
  • If you are unsure what else you may need to do, ask participants in advance to address any specific needs they may have. Is there a participant that may need frequent breaks or close access to a water cooler?
  • Offer handouts, slides, or other materials such as videos that have been placed in accessible formats. This allows the participant in need to follow along with the presentation or for ease of viewing later.
  • Use easy to read fonts and color contrast. Ensure videos are captioned.

During the Presentation

  • Start with a brief synopsis of the material that will be covered. Designate a time during the presentation to address any questions or concerns.
  • Speak concisely and try to avoid “fillers” like “umm” or “ah”. Use simple language.  Avoid industry jargon, acronyms and over-used sayings like “two birds with one stone”. Allow enough time for the participants to process information before switching topics.
  • Cover all the information that is displayed on the slide. Avoid using long sentences.
  • Vary your tone and voice so it is not monotonous!

After the Presentation

  • If you have recorded the presentation, offer an accessible copy to participants. Likewise, you may want to offer additional handouts or videos via email. Ensure these are accessible as well, by either tagging or captioning.
  • Include your contact information, so that if questions arise later, the participant may have the means to contact you.

To learn more visit our website or contact the author, Dee Moradi directly at dmoradi@pinsourcing.com – she is happy to offer you FREE consultation!