Learning American Sign Language is an excellent way for a business to make itself more accessible to a greater number of potential customers, employees, and business associates. Being able to meet the needs of the hearing impaired better than competitors, can give many different types of companies an advantage over the competition. It’s also simply a nice gesture. The same way businesses rent microphones or other audio visual, or translate their materials into Spanish and other prominent languages spoken in the United States, learning American Sign Language to become accessible to hearing impaired individuals can give them an edge.
Many business situations benefit from having someone around who knows sign language. This will alleviate frustration for both parties and make it possible for accurate communication to happen much faster. A business meeting, with someone who is hearing impaired, will go much more smoothly if there is an interpreter there to translate. It can make the individual feel more welcome if that interpreter is provided by the company. Talented people with hearing impairments will feel more comfortable working for the company if a program like this is in place when they arrive.
The value that these accommodations can provide for customers and clients should not be overlooked either. It is simply good customer service. Most people who are hearing impaired or deaf will be pleasantly surprised to have someone available that they can communicate with easily, and they will remember this positive experience.
There are many methods available for learning American Sign Language, including online programs and brick-and-mortar classrooms. Many colleges and universities will accept American Sign Language to fulfill a foreign language requirement. It is increasingly being offered in schools around the country, especially at the high school level and up. Business majors should consider taking this route, because knowing sign language may come in handy in the future. People who are finished with school and still wish to learn American Sign Language can take a class at a community college, look for programs run by other organizations, or sign up for an online program and study at home.
Businesses can begin integrating American Sign Language by sending current employees for training. If a number of people in the company know how to sign, there will always be someone available when the need arises. Another option is to hire someone to come to the business and teach classes, give a presentation, or to utilize people who already know sign language. Think of other ways to accommodate the hearing impaired and different groups of people as well.