Planning a conference abroad can be a rewarding experience, but it can also prove quite trying. One of the biggest challenges facing Western businesspeople planning business conferences abroad is culture, and many find they aren’t as familiar with the local culture as they once thought. Whilst research is advisable, one of the wisest moves you could possibly make is to work with local people experienced in working with foreigners, and experience in arranging conferences would also be a big help. Although there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ guide to planning a conference abroad, here are five handy tips.
Before you make any arrangements, research the country in which the conference will be held. Take note of cultural differences, particularly cultural concerns like dress codes and greetings, and don’t squander the opportunity to make a great first impression. You should also research the weather as well as events and public holidays at that time of the year, bear in mind that it’s difficult to hold a conference if everyone has the day off!
Work with an open mind and enjoy yourself
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. It’s all too often the case that Western businesspeople are stuck on the idea that their way is better, and quite often they’re right. What they fail to take into account however is that they’re no longer in the country from which they hail and like it or not, things are going to be done the locals’ way. Enjoy yourself whilst arranging the conference, you’ll not only find it to be less stressful, but you’re also more likely to learn something new in the process.
Work with locals experienced in working with foreigners
This is perhaps the most important point that can be made about planning a conference in a foreign country, particularly one in which you’re no longer a native speaker. This involves the next point, communicating efficiently, as well as the former, dealing with different cultures and different ways of doing things. You’ll also find making arrangements for a conference much easier if you work with a local conference organiser.
Whilst it can be difficult to communicate efficiently in a foreign country if you don’t speak the language, which isn’t the case when planning a conference in office space in Manhattan and you hail from the UK, make every effort to communicate efficiently. If necessary hire an interpreter or if you’re working with locals and you’re experiencing problems communicating, appoint one of them as your interpreter if feasible.
Allow for changes
Although you may have made arrangements before your arrival it’s quite often the case that changes have been made without your knowledge. This is a problem all over the world, though admittedly in some countries more than others. In order to effectively allow for changes you must allow more time, and as postponing the conference is out of the question you must give more of your time to allow for changes if they occur.