Resources for Presenters

Presenting to Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Audiences

Are you planning on presenting to an audience that will include deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals?
Would you like to learn about strategies to help make your presentation a success?
These guidelines will help ensure that audiences with diverse communication needs can fully benefit from your presentation!

Presenting to deaf/HH audiences requires a sensitivity to deaf culture and an awareness of communication needs. It is important to keep in mind that deaf/HH individuals primarily receive information visually.

  • Begin your presentation with an outline or overview of your agenda.
  • Speak at a medium pace. Remember your speech is being interpreted/translated.
  • Pause periodically between topics/slides to allow time for participants to view materials, ask questions, and participate in discussions.
  • Speak to your audience - not to the interpreter nor to the visual aid.
  • Provide transition cues when switching from one topic to another, such as "next we'll be talking about..."
  • When you refer to handouts, media, or other materials, allow time for your audience to read the materials before you continue speaking.
  • Do not turn your back to your audience while speaking. Discontinue speaking when you turn to write on a board and do not resume until you can again face your audience.
  • Deaf and hard-of-hearing participants will not be able to take notes or participate in an activity while you are speaking. Maintain eye contact with your audience to successfully direct their attention and deliver your message.

Download: Presenting to Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Audiences Brochure