By: Brittany, MTA, Event Coordinator, Worldwide Speakers Group, LLC
The majority of event professionals are more often tasked with not only managing conferences and meetings domestically, but coordinating internationally. International events are an exciting adventure for attendees, but often prove to be a challenging work for the planner.
Taking on an international event requires supreme organization and intense research by the planner. The event team has to be completely dedicated to making sure their pre-work facilitates a pleasurable experience for their clients, speakers and attendees. Apart from the obvious language barriers and time zone differences, there are three major areas that demand a planner’s attention when tackling international events.
It is often surprising how different the infrastructure of foreign countries can differ from the United States. Planners working on international events must investigate the basic building blocks of the countries they are entering to ensure a successful event. Things like travel time, flexibility, and load in/load out all depend heavily on the infrastructure of the location.
Now, more than ever, the political environment of a country bears heavily on events and conferences. Planners have to be meticulous in their research and monitoring of the climate of the area where their event will be held. The attitude of the native population towards their own leadership, and the leadership of the United States can pose challenges for planners working on events in that country. Security is of course the biggest and most pressing concern, and should be top of mind for planners.
The culture and mores of the host country should be considered and respected by planners producing events abroad. There are countless sources of research for business norms and practices in other countries. It is important for planners to not only follow the most essential customs, but also to share them with their attendees and clients. The last thing a planner should do is offend their hosts due to a lack of research.
Planners must focus on gathering information and following through with adjusting to the nuances of the host country. With the right preparation, international events can be a successful step into an interesting and engaging new place.
Dealing with the several time zones in the United States can prove challenging when trying to meet a deadline, but international time management can be a downright struggle. Luckily, there are great online resources and mobile apps that will save planners from ever having to say “Oops, it’s 4am there.” These sites allow planners to quickly compare their local time to that of their client. A couple of the most helpful and convenient are listed below: