Group Situations and Meetings

Consider these strategies to help create mutually beneficial work relationships between deaf and hearing employees on the job.


Before the Meeting

  • Consider the layout of the room (i.e. circular seating) in order to provide good communication.
  • Install assistive listening systems.
  • Hold meetings in a quiet, well-lit room.
  • Ask deaf or hard-of-hearing employees if they prefer an interpreter.
  • Let deaf employees determine the best seating arrangement to see the speaker and interpreter.
  • Assign a person to inform deaf or hard-of-hearing employees of important announcements.

During the Meeting

  • Point to the person who is speaking.
  • Watch for signals that deaf or hard-of-hearing employees wish to contribute.
  • Ensure that one person speaks at a time.
  • Do not pace while giving a presentation.
  • Speak clearly and slowly.
  • Do not talk with your back to the audience while writing on a blackboard.

After the Meeting

  • Have minutes or notes taken for future reference.
  • Review critical issues introduced in a meeting to ensure understanding.


  • Use hands-on demonstrations to assist in training.
  • Allow extra time for communication when training.
  • Provide an outline of the training session.
  • Assign a mentor to work directly with deaf or hard-of-hearing employees during the training period.


  • Incorporate visual aids, demonstrations, flip charts, written agendas, and handouts in presentations
  • Use appropriate accommodations.

In Case of Emergency

  • Use a buddy system to alert deaf or hard-of-hearing employees to emergency situations.
  • Install flashing lights to work in conjunction with auditory alarms.
  • Review safety procedures, including exits and alarms.
  • Use texting, e-mail or pager to contact deaf or hard-of-hearing employees in the event of an emergency.
  • Notify security if deaf or hard-of-hearing employees are alone in work areas.

Source: National Technical Institute for the Deaf National Center on Employment at: