Organising a conference is never easy – and that’s especially true when you’re trying to get everything together for guests that come from far away. When you’re dealing with an international crowd or attendees, there are some special precautions to take in order to make sure that they are comfortable and ready to play their part. Here’s the thing with a great conference: everyone should be excited to hear what the speakers have to say, and everyone should be ready to play an active role. How do we make sure of that? Luckily, it’s not that hard; you just have to prepare in the right way. Here are some important considerations for international guests or participants at a conference.
The comforts at night
There may be some special things you should anticipate for people who come from different time zones; it comes down to two things: jet lag and sleeping habits.
- Jet lag. For international guests, this is a real problem – and it might seriously affect their concentration and well-being. Your visitors may need extra sleep.
- Sleeping habits – hard or soft bed? Pillows? Are there enough drapes to ensure darkness? For instance, conference venue Midlands like Heythrop Park Resort and Crowne Plaza provide guests with ample and comfortable beddings, complete with all the amenities they need.
Culture is important – one simple friendly gesture by one person could be completely misinterpreted by one of another culture. Here are the highlights:
- Social etiquette. When greeting people, a handshake may not always be appropriate. Often a bow and warm vocal greeting is preferable.
- Business etiquette. Specific cultures have specific preferences. Do your research.
- Greetings and needs. It’s important the visitor should feel welcome and is taken care of. Ensure their needs.
- Food preferences. Based on culture, religion, or personal preference, some foods may not be appropriate.
Avoiding language problems
If someone doesn’t speak English as a first language, it could pose a problem. Consider the following:
- Basic phrases. Learn basic words in various languages, it makes a big difference.
- Extra care. When dealing with people who do not speak English well, be extra careful to avoid misunderstandings.
- Never confuse language issues with intelligence. They’re totally different things.
- Consider services. Translation services are often necessary.
It certainly isn’t easy making sure that international guests and participants are completely at ease as you welcome them for a conference. The positive news, though, is that most people that are involved in an international setting understand that they are not special, and they usually come prepared; they know that they are in strange territory and hence even the smallest of kindnesses towards them will make them feel much more at ease. Nobody expects perfection – but the wonderful thing about human nature is that simple, gentle gestures of goodwill often open doors in wonderful ways.
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