Conferences are a reality of business life. And they are an enjoyable way to learn from the greatest minds in your field at the same time as networking with new people. But organizing a successful one, especially a multilingual one where attendees are from different backgrounds, can be frustrating if it is not well planned.
Consequently, successfully hosting a multilingual conference means carrying out adequate preparation and planning. However, things may not go as expected, and you may have to face some unforeseen circumstances. But the golden rule that will save the day is to ensure you look calm and relaxed at all times so that no one finds out!
This article will offer some tips for hosting a welcoming conference for a multilingual audience.
Tips for hosting a multilingual conference
The program should be planned, organized, and promoted well to ensure things run smoothly on the day of the event. Here are ten tips to guarantee success when hosting a multilingual conference.
1. Prepare the conference venue ahead of time
Arriving early at the event venue is your first step toward a successful conference. Ensure that you and your team get to the venue early to set everything up before anyone arrives. When prepping the venue, a few things to look out for are furniture, decoration, and IT equipment. You should make your decorations aesthetically varied and try to include references to different cultures.
2. Accommodate your speakers’ needs
Dedicate a section of your team to welcoming and attending to the needs of your speakers. Try to meet them in person before the event to introduce yourself properly. This will show your appreciation to them and make you accessible in the event of any questions or feedback during the event. If your speakers do not talk a common language, you should assign them a translator.
3. Make guest registration easy
There should be a unit of your team at the entrance to register new arrivals: scan their tickets, serve welcome drinks, give out name tags, and so on. Test your ticket scanners to check if they work correctly, to avoid mistakes.
4. Ensure your guests can get around easily
Create sufficient signs around the venue so guests can get around easily. Put some of your team in a different uniform to be easily identifiable and delegate this task to them. They must ensure that every row, seat, and hallway is marked and easy to read, but also try to provide this information in more than one language. This will help your guests navigate the venue’s premises with less stress.
5. Encourage a lively conference atmosphere
Try to keep your guests engaged so that they don’t lose interest or become bored by the conference. Build the program around audience participation and consider a Q&A session at the end of each speakers’ speech or build interactive quizzes into their presentations.
6. Hire translators to make your event run smoothly
Translators are essential for a successful multilingual conference. To effectively cater to your audience, ensure translators of different languages are present at the conference. Take care to create an environment that enables language professionals to interpret for their audience correctly. You could use interpreting booths, which help with sound insulation, to allow interpreters to carry out their job without external noise interference.
7. Capture conference highlights
Create memories of the event by hiring a photographer and videographer to capture highlights. This will be a wonderful experience for both speakers and guests. The former will love to record their talks, while the latter will want to see themselves being recorded. Similarly, you should have a recording of the event for your own reference purposes.
8. Post your event on social media
You can also promote the program through social media shares. Boost visibility by getting people to use the event hashtag when sharing on their social media channels. This could get you more followers and even a new hosting job. Since you will have speakers and guests from different countries, you could tag them in your posts and potentially introduce your audience to new people.
9. Keep the conference running to time
People cherish their time a lot; therefore, you should be time-sensitive from the program’s start to the end. Ensure there is an allocated time for each activity and follow them strictly. Always remind the speakers how much time they have left to complete their presentations as this will give them guidance and strengthen your planning.
10. Be the last to leave
After the program is over, you and your team need to stay back to tidy things up and make sure that every physical piece of equipment is disconnected. It would help if you left the venue as it was when you first arrived. Take stock of any items accidentally left behind by guests and speakers.
Hosting a multilingual conference can be demanding but with proper planning, you will be able to make a success of it. The tips outlined above will guide you through hosting a welcoming conference and above all, if we were to underscore the most effective one, it would be ensuring that translators and interpreting booths are readily available to facilitate communication among participants.