New guidance on making meetings more accessible

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To mark the launch of its new guide, Meetings Matter, Business Disability Forum is offering advice to all businesses on how to make meetings and events more accessible for disabled employees and clients. The 10-point meeting checklist is adapted from the not-for-profit membership organisation’s new 24-page guide. The practical and up-to-date resource provides advice on arranging meetings which meet the needs of all colleague and attendees.

“Meetings are often an important part of our working and day-to-day lives”

The guide covers all aspects of organising a meeting, from set up to on the day, and follow up arrangements. It also reflects the fact that more and more people are now using technology to enable them to take part in meetings and events remotely and from anywhere in the World.

10-point meeting checklist

Before the meeting

  • Check if anyone taking part in the meeting has any additional requirements.
  • Ask if any communication support is needed and book it in advance.
  • Send out information in advance so people can prepare. Include the agenda and maps, as well as information on public transport and accessible parking.
  • Build regular breaks into the agenda and stick to them.
  • Check the accessibility of your venue. Is there a working hearing loop or visual fire alarm? Know the location of lifts, ramps and accessible toilets.
  • Provide details of internet access. Some people may rely on internet access for adjustments.
  • Provide details of remote access facilities and check they work for everyone.

On the day

  • Be ready to meet participants at the entrance to buildings, if required, so you can guide them.
  • Check before the meeting starts that everyone has everything they need and give an overview of how the meeting will work, including timings of breaks and refreshments.
  • Ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate. Ask participants to introduce themselves at the start of the meeting, including people taking part remotely. Remind everyone to reintroduce themselves every time they speak. Regularly recap key points of the meeting.

Speaking about meeting accessibility, Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, said:  “Meetings are where ideas are discussed, issues are raised and decisions are made. But for disabled colleagues and clients they can too often be frustrating experiences, if adjustments haven’t been considered and put in place”.

“Our new guide provides advice on how to make what are often simple adjustments to enable everyone to fully participate and contribute, and to ensure your meeting is a success.”