No Image Available

Seb Anthony

Read more from Seb Anthony

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Any advice and help on training people who are deaf??


In September I will be delivering some very boring training on a contract to 3 delegates who are all deaf. I cannot sign and there will be an interpretor present. I am struggling to think of ideas for this training, how to approach it, so any advice and information would be useful..

Thanks Much

Kevin Harrison

8 Responses

  1. RNID

    I have delivered to deaf participants in the past both with and without an interpretor and the best advice I can give is make sure they can all see you clearly and slow down.

    Alternatively, have you contacted the RNID who I’m sure would be able to offer advice.

    If I might be so bold, I’d concentrate on the fact that the training is ‘very boring’ and address that rather than worrying about the participants being deaf. If you can make it more engaging, you’ll be on to a winner.

  2. Training people who are deaf
    The most important thing is simple. Email and ask them what they need and, from their experience of prior learning, what works best for them. It may be that some or all can lip read (in which case you have to remember to keep facing them). It may be that two signers are required (signers need breaks). And it may be that you find out others things too that you can take into account when tailoring the training – they are a small group so there is no reason why you cannot shape the style and approach entirely around their learning needs, questions and preferences (irrespective of their deafness).
    There may be a real opportunity for you here too. If you see the existing training as boring then either the design or your delivery needs a fresh look. Why not use this programme to really use your creativity and imagination to be less reliant on ‘talk’. Why not have a Bayeaux Tapestry type of picture along one wall representing a time-line of the whole process in pictures and words for example (you don’t say what the subject matter is so it is hard to suggest too many options).
    Finally, some warmth, a smile, a belief in them, and taking delight in helping them learn goes a long, long way.

  3. Small adjustments needed?
    I was delivering training on listening skills. One of the participants was deaf. As I wanted the exercise to lead the participants to finding the answer I asked the signer what he thought his client would benefit from most rather than ask him myself. The signer told me to go ahead on the same basis as I would have, that he – the signer – would demonstrate tone – and that he expected that his client would be the best on reading body language! Which of course he was.He in turn gave the others with hearing some tips on what to look for.
    The message I guess is not to make assumptions. Of course your presentation has to be at a pace that the signer can follow and – as should be the case with any trainees – it is important that they can see you!

  4. Boring Training
    Boring Training – surely not, to me training should be delivered in such a way that the delegates get the best out of it and hence take in what is being delivered.

    I can see delivering training via an interpreter is different to what you have delivered in the past but making contact to try and find out more before the event would be a good practice. As to the delivery why not ensure that you focus on interacting with the delegates and making them feel at ease and very much involved and thus leads to better delivery.

    Or perhaps you maybe need to refresh your Training Delivery Skills?

  5. Know your song well before you start singing!
    Firstly, if the subject matter is boring for you, it will be boring for all your trainees. Perhaps you should address this in the design of your presentations.
    Secondly, it isn’t clear from your posting whether this is a group of only 3 deaf people, or whether they are a group of 3 deaf people within a larger group of trainees.
    Thirdly, one practical thing you can do is to give the interpreters a glossery of specialist terminology, and a copy of any background material you have related to the topic (it sounds like it’s a pretty specialised one) so that they can be aware of any unnusual words or phraises in advance, and if necessary seek clarification from you.
    Also be aware that BSL interpreting is an intensive activity, so make sure you have enough interpreters. For a whole day, you will need at least two, and they may prefer to work in 20-30 minute shifts.
    Finally, remember not to address the interpreters if you want to speak with your deaf trainees. Look at them – they are your clients!

    Rory Heap
    Diversity Manager

  6. Bear in mind…
    You already have some excellent advice, here, which I think will serve you well.

    However, I would like to add a word of caution that deafness is not a single condition, nor is it a leveler. Your three delegates are going to have individual quirks, abilities and preferences just as any other mixed bag of delegates would. They may not all be equally deaf. Some might vocalise, others might not. Most important of all: not all deaf people sign. My deaf niece knows no sign at all and is totally dependent on a copmbination of lipreading and a cochlear implant (bionic ear).

    Some practical suggestions that might come in useful (although I’m sure the RNID will be far more helpful than I could ever hope to be):

    When you are speaking to the group, or to one person, make eye contact with *them*, not the signer. Be aware, though, that they are going to be watching the signer, so you might begin to feel like a singer in restaurant, putting your heart and soul into a delivery while everyone eats their steak.

    What can also happen is that the delegates may ask questions of the signer and get sidetracked into a conversation of their own that excludes you because you are a non-signer. If the signer is good, he/she will keep you in the loop. If not, you will have to be assertive and ask that they include you in all exchanges.

    When you pose questions to a person, do so in the first person, not via the signer in the third person.

    Some of the delegates may need/like to lipread. If this is the case, take care to face them at all times and not to speak with your back to them.

    Many (but by no means all) deaf people have poor reading skills, so be careful when compiling your take-aways to use plain English.

  7. Where will the training take place?
    Wherabouts in the country will the training take place Kevin?


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!