Delegates without borders

Panduit’s head of marketing operations APAC, Philip Goh, shows how his company and Destination Asia pulled off a successful summit for a multicultural audience from all over the world

Event brief

The 460-pax, three-day conference and incentive programme in Beijing, which includes a city tour to the Great Wall of China at the end of the summit, involves top international partners that help to drive the company. The programme must be an impressive one that will leave these VIPs with fond memories to take home.

Challenges 

With 460 delegates attending this event from Singapore, Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, the US, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan, communication was a top concern. While presentations were all conducted in English, we had to make sure that translation was provided, so as to not hamper any of the delegate’s understanding of the content.

Apart from the language barrier, the multicultural audience also meant that they would have different tastes and we had to make sure everyone’s stomachs would be appeased – one of the key factors for a successful event.

Solutions

To break down language barriers, we made sure we had interpreters for various languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean. We had all the materials translated and each country also interviewed the translators to ensure they were suitable.

We also provided a free mobile app that could carry the respective content. Apart from information about the event and the speakers, the app also provided alerts on scheduled meeting times, to ensure every delegate was kept up to date on the programme schedule.

To cater to the variety of dietary preferences, we worked closely with the hotel to ensure that food options would appeal to delegates from different countries. Ample options, from halal and vegetarian to spicy and non-spicy, were provided, so were condiments to allow delegates to spice up their meals.

We decided to use the different nationalities of our guests to our advantage and organised games during the gala dinner that required them to compete accordingly to their home countries. This helped to drum up excitement among the delegates who were quickly united by their countries.
These games proved to be an effective icebreaker, and more games were later introduced to allow delegates to network with peers of other nationalities and foster inter-country partnerships.

Key takeaways

The success of the event was evident from the numerous delegates coming forward to ask us for information about next year’s event. This has given us the assurance that we had indeed delivered an event up to their expectations.

We realised that in our cross-cultural setting it is worth going the extra mile to make every one feel welcome, especially by presenting content in their native language. This helps them to feel respected, even if it meant more work for us.

Never underestimate the need to be hospitable as this is what will make or break a delegate’s overall experience.

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