Shakespeare Association of America

Accessibility: Recommended Best Practices for Panels, Seminars and Workshops

The SAA is committed to practices that allow all members of the association to participate in its panel, seminar and workshop sessions. We ask that all session organizers and presenters review the following information and take the necessary steps to make their sessions accessible to attendees with permanent or temporary disabilities.

Public Speaking

Speak clearly and distinctly, facing the audience. Avoid speaking from a darkened or shadowed area so that anyone reading lips can see you clearly. Speak at a reasonable speed, but remain aware that members of the audience, sign interpreters, and those using captioning may request that you slow down further.

Panel Chairs should always repeat questions or statements from members of the audience. In dialogues or discussions during seminars and workshops, leaders should remind participants that only one person should speak at a time.

Papers, Handouts, and Audiovisuals

Speakers should prepare shareable versions of their presentations, even in draft form, for the use of members for whom a written text is necessary. Speakers should indicate whether they want their documents returned.

Consider the possibility that persons in the audience may be visually impaired and describe all powerpoints fully, or provide easy-to-read printed versions of their slides that audience members may obtain before the panel begins.

Room Setups

Rooms will generally have space for and scooter users. Please do not move chairs into these spaces. If your seminar room does not have a clear space, please adjust seating to provide one or request the assistance of a hotel staff person to do so. Please keep seating areas and aisles clear for persons who may be using wheelchairs, canes, crutches, or motorized vehicles. Space should be left around the doors and aisles to allow access.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing and who use sign language interpreters or read lips need to sit where they can see both the speakers and the interpreter. The interpreter may stand close to the speaker or within a direct line of sight to allow the audience to view both the speaker and the interpreter. Speakers and audience members should be aware of the location of interpreters and attempt to keep this line of vision clear. It is recommended that front row seating be made available to those who need interpreters upon request.