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Before the meeting begins:

Test the system to be sure it is working to your satisfaction. In addition to checking the equipment set-up, each hearing person should take turns talking to see if the notetaker can hear everyone clearly. Hearing participants should also make sure they can hear the notetaker clearly if he/she is voicing for the deaf/hard of hearing person.

Close the door(s) to the meeting room to help reduce background noise.

If possible, set up the computer monitor so that the deaf/hard of hearing person can easily shift his/her gaze from the computer screen to the hearing participants in the meeting.

Deaf and hard of hearing users:

Type "GA" when you are finished typing to signal others in the meeting that they can begin speaking.

Use the interrupt key [Ctrl + G] to get the notetaker's attention. Interrupt the notetaker when there is a problem with the system or you need to clarify a misunderstanding. After you hit the interrupt key and the notetaker has stopped typing, describe the problem to the notetaker.

Provide constructive feedback to the notetaker following the meeting. For example, if you want the notetaker to use more abbreviations in the notes, let him or her know that. This will help improve notetaking during subsequent meetings.

Hearing participants:

Because the notetaker can not keep up if more than one person is talking at the same time, it is important to wait for others to finish speaking before beginning to talk.

Try not to speak too quickly, and speak clearly enough so that the notetaker can keep pace with what you are saying. Make sure you don't cover your mouth (i.e., with your hands, a cup, papers) while you are talking. This will make it difficult for the notetaker to hear you, and a deaf/hard of hearing person who relies on speechreading to speechread you.

When there are more than two hearing people participating in the meeting, it is helpful if each person says his or her name as he/she begins to speak ("Carol here" or "This is Carol") since the notetaker might not be able to identify you by voice. The notetaker will convey who is speaking to the deaf/hard of hearing person reading the notes.

Sit as close to the speakerphone as possible. (The necessity of doing this depends on the quality of the speakerphone.)

Speak in the direction of the speakerphone.

Interrupt the notetaker if you are having difficulty hearing him or her, or if there is another problem during the meeting. Let the notetaker know you want to interrupt the discussion; the notetaker will let the deaf/hard of hearing person know that you are interrupting the meeting and will type your explanation of the problem.


Use a phone headset instead of the telephone handset. This will make it more comfortable to take notes, and is especially important for longer meetings.

Use the interrupt key [Ctrl + G] to get the attention of the deaf/hard of hearing participant. Use the interrupt key when you've missed something that has been said or you don't understand what someone is saying. Let the deaf/hard of hearing person know that you are seeking clarification.

Wait until the deaf/hard of hearing person has typed an entire sentence before reading it. Reading each word as it is typed makes it difficult for the hearing participants to follow what is being said, especially when the deaf/hard of hearing person types slowly.

Ask the deaf/hard of hearing person beforehand if he or she wants you to correct grammatical errors in English or read the remarks exactly as typed.

For meetings of more than two people, indicate who is speaking by typing the name of the speaker before he or she begins talking.

Use abbreviations if the deaf/hard of hearing person knows what the abbreviations stand for.

Switch off with another notetaker every half hour or when you begin to feel fatigued or are having difficulty concentrating.

Type "(sp?") beside a word if you are unsure of its spelling. For example: "Binney (sp?) developed the first IQ test." (The correct spelling is Binet.)

Type any jokes or asides made during the meeting.

Type "smile" in parentheses after any jokes, as is done on a TTY.

Solicit feedback on the quality of the notes from all participants to get suggestions on how the notes can be more helpful.

Don't go back and correct typographical errors if it's obvious what the word is.

Don't try to capture verbatim text of what is being said.

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