Update: These useful tips were originally compiled by Lori Gillen, former co-manager of the SIG, for participants attending the STC 2008 conference in Philadelphia. The tips are valuable for any conference at any time. These tips can be used at any presentation, anywhere, of course! The tips are provided to help conference participants hear better and get much more out of their conference experience.
- Sit next to one of the loudspeakers and make sure that you have a clear view of the presenter.
- Ask someone to take notes for you during sessions.
- If you think you will have problems hearing, let the presenter know beforehand, if possible, or at the start of the session, or at the very least when any problem becomes apparent. It's very frustrating for the person and presenter to only find out at the end that there's been an issue.
- Tell the presenter what you need (speak louder, speak slower, face me please), and the speaker will try to accommodate you.
- Make sure that you assess ahead of time what you think you will need. Do you need an assistive listening device or a note-taker? Do you need to sit close to where the presenter will be speaking?
- After you assess your needs, be proactive in preparing your own accommodations. Meet with the presenter before the session and explain what you need. Ask if someone is available to take notes. In the assembly hall, ask if you can sit near the front.
- Don't be afraid to be assertive. Politely indicate to the presenter to speak louder or slower. Or if audience members are being noisy, don't hesitate to tell them that they are distracting you from hearing the presenter.
- Understand that the situation is not going to become perfect "just like that", in spite of everyone's best intentions. You may have to compromise, or even accept the fact that you will NOT be able to hear every word that the presenter says.