In pursuing workplace inclusivity, organizations are prioritizing everyday interactions across all employee groups. Key to this initiative is fostering inclusive meetings for visually impaired employees. While events like town halls shape organizational culture, they can be challenging for this group. Often overlooked, self-description is a crucial tool for visually impaired individuals navigating these settings. One of the most important parts of inclusive gatherings comes right at the start and is often taken for granted: introductions.
Self-Description for Visually Impaired Employees
A great deal of visual information is taken in during introductions, from a person’s surrounding environment, personal characteristics and the diversity in the room. Some of these characteristics may be discerned differently for individuals with a visual impairment. “Self-description” is a helpful tool visually impaired individuals use to acclimate to any meeting with unfamiliar voices or when in large groups. Furthermore, descriptive introductions significantly decrease the work attached to this acclimation process. Finally, self-descriptions can help visually impaired people recognize their colleagues more easily in future interactions.
When organizing a large gathering, it’s important to consider self-description a part of good event execution, similar to how you would hire a sign-language interpreter. You might be wondering how many visually impaired people need to be present to require self-descriptions. Not all visually impaired people require or enjoy self-descriptions, but the presence of a single person who wants this to be a feature of the event should be enough to require speakers and attendees to provide them.