Effective, inclusive, and accessible presentations
We all have a lot on the line when we give professional presentations. The last thing we want is to leave some of our audience members out of the conversation. Here, are some tips that all of us can implement to make SRM presentations and workshops more effective, accessible and inclusive. Accessibility is about accounting for the diverse bodies and minds present in our communities and planning for this diversity. Inclusion is making all meeting attendees feel welcomed, valued and affirmed, and inviting them to participate fully in meeting events. Following these tips helps make our communication more effective and our presentations inclusive for everyone.
Below are some considerations for effective, inclusive and accessible presentations and workshops. For more details, see the full article in the Pre-Convention Trail Boss.
Use inclusive language that acknowledges diversity, conveys respect for all people, and is sensitive to differences. Avoid assumptions about the abilities/disabilities, beliefs or identities of any audience member and say nothing that might imply that one individual or group is superior to another on the grounds of race, gender, culture, occupation or any other characteristic.
Handouts: Make large font printed handouts available for presentations and posters, and provide electronic versions on request
Slide decks: Use a high-contrast color scheme (black and white) and large fonts (44 point for titles, 36 point for information). Keep information displayed on each slide to a minimum. Use standard slide transitions and avoid decorative fillers. All videos shown should be captioned.
Always use a microphone when speaking and ask others to do so
Posters: Posters should be easily visible from 3-6 feet. Recommended type sizes are as follows. For titles, use at least 72 point font; for Section Headers, 46-56 point font; and for Body Text, 24-36 point font. Use a sans serif font such as Arial, Helvetica or Veranda. Hang posters at a height readable to individuals who use a wheelchair. Workshops and Small Group Activities: Be sure all information can be received through multiple senses and avoid activities that require moving around a crowded room, which some may find difficult. Provide structure to help participants find group members, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate. In group discussions, avoid making assumptions about an individual’s background or identities based on their physical appearance, or putting people on the spot by asking them to speak for a larger group (e.g. asking an agency employee to speak for all agency employees, or a single researcher to represent all women in science).
These practices might feel unfamiliar at first; however, they will likely make your presentations are better and more engaging for all. We are excited to encourage members to begin incorporating inclusive practices, including a disability consciousness, into our conference and to contribute to creating inclusive spaces. See you in Denver!