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Three Easy Ways to Maximize Event Accessibility

Young people at a conference.

Three Easy Ways to Maximize Event Accessibility

Below are three easy ways to maximize event accessibility by accommodating everybody, including those with invisible disabilities.

  • Planning
  • Event design
  • Technology

Event planners work magic behind the scenes. They pull everything together to create an exciting, welcoming environment.

Diversity and inclusion work best when they are a part of the planning process. ​

〰PLANNING TO MAXIMIZE EVENT ACCESSIBILITY〰

Guest accommodations should be friendly to people with disabilities, including those with ‘hidden’ disabilities.

Most U.S. hotels, motels, inns, etc. include accommodations that are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. In fact, all accommodations designed or constructed after January 26, 1993 are required to be ADA compliant.

Make it easy for your guests or attendees from the start! Provide them with an accessibility statement and point of contact in your event announcements and invitations. Be sure to include clear instructions on how to request accommodations. Make sure attendees know that requests for special accommodations have the same deadlines as RSVPs and avoid confusion! (Scroll to the end for two examples!)

Include details about lodging and transportation accessibility with out-of-town guests.

〰EVENT DESIGN TO MAXIMIZE EVENT ACCESSIBILITY〰

The best event designs unify and refine your event. Be sure that acoustics, lighting, and climate are all a part of making your event comfortable and inviting.

Prioritize details that impact guests’ ability to see, hear, and fully participate in your event. Thoughtful seating arrangements, unobtrusive decor, and widely available information help.

Personalized event entertainment goes a step further to ensure that ALL of your guests are able to participate in your event.

Strolling entertainers make accessibility a breeze for those with mobility impairments–the entertainment comes to you!

〰TECHNOLOGY TO MAXIMIZE EVENT ACCESSIBILITY〰

If you use visual or auxiliary elements (for example a slideshow or speaker), share additional services, assistive technology, or accommodations that you can provide.

Some examples:

●  American Sign Language interpreters

●  CART services (Real time closed-captioning is more accurate than computer generated captions)

●  Visual and auxiliary aids

●  Assistive communication devices

Have information available in alternative formats (large print, for example). If text is presented, use a mic and read it aloud while facing the audience.

This list is not exhaustive, but it ​is a great place to start​ to help create a more accessible world.

Be open to learning new ways to deliver a positive, coequal experience to each guest. (Or as we put it, keep inviting everyone to the table.)

Below are two more easy ways to maximize event accessibility by setting the right pieces in motion, starting with your announcements. Happy planning!

Sample Accessibility Checklist

Please let us know how we can enhance your participation!

___ Advance copy of slides to be projected

___ Allergies — List: ________________________

___ An assistant will be accompanying me

___ A service animal will be accompanying me

___ Assistive listening device

___ Braille

___ Captioning

___ Diet Restrictions — List: __________________

___ Gender neutral bathroom

___ Lactation room

___ Large print

___ Orientation to facility

___ Reserved front row seat

___ Scent-free room

___ Wheelchair access

___ Wheelchair access to work tables throughout meeting space

___Sensory room

___Quiet room

Other: ________________________________

Or

Provide an ​accessibility statement with a​ ​point of contact​.

Sample Accessibility Statement

We are committed to organizing events that are inclusive to all. To request information on accommodations and accessibility, contact [​ Full name & pronouns] at​ [email AND phone number] when submitting your RSVP. As a courtesy to those with allergies and environmental sensitivities, we are asking that our staff and guests please avoid wearing strong fragrances.

 


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