Work Christmas Parties – How to include your deaf colleagues
Updated: Mar 18
Christmas is nearly upon us! It’s that time of year again - we are all making plans and the work Christmas party is definitely on the schedule.
Work Christmas parties are a great way for everyone to let loose, get to know each other better, crack a few jokes and get a little merry. However, at this festive time of year, it is also easy for our deaf awareness skills to get too relaxed.
Deaf people love a party too but if not done with deaf awareness in mind, our deaf colleagues can feel left out.
Here are 10 tips to ensure this doesn’t happen:
1. Make sure the deaf person KNOWS about the Christmas party and encourage them to come. – Xmas parties are a very important part of any workplace!
2. If booking a Christmas meal out, try to book a round table. This makes it easier for the deaf person to see everyone and therefore to see who is speaking and be able to read their lips.
3. When the party is in full swing remember to maintain eye contact when talking to a deaf person, don’t eat when talking or turn away - if they can’t see you, they can’t read your lips.
4. Include the deaf person when telling a story – maybe you’ve thought of something hilarious that happened to you recently. Get the deaf person’s attention before starting the story by waving in their eyeline or tapping their shoulder. Now you may begin!
5. Don’t forget your signing skills – brush up on your fingerspelling and basic signs to ease communication. Why not ask the deaf person to teach you some Christmas signs?
6. If your deaf colleague is a BSL user, they may wish to book an interpreter for full access to the banter, anecdotes and gossip! – Do this in advance!
7. Playing games? – Stay away from sound related games such as ‘guess that tune’ and think in advance if the deaf person will be able to get fully involved.
8. Secret Santa? – Make sure you let the deaf person know this is happening. Then, when the time comes to open presents - take turns, don’t all speak at once and enjoy!
9. Music? – Deaf people enjoy music too, they may even know some of the popular Christmas tunes so turn up the base and get dancing!
10. Relax, have fun and get to know your deaf colleagues a little more 😊