Making Multilingual Events Stand Out
The global events landscape changed in the blink of an eye, with virtually every industry having to adapt rapidly to maintain productivity. One year into the new brave world of virtual conferencing, the appetite for virtual events and new hybrid formats does not seem to slow down. In-person events were reconfigured into virtual conferences at the drop of a hat, with some events — such as multilingual conferences — being harder to pull off than others. For those unfamiliar with hosting multilingual conferences online, knowing just how to make their events stand out is a real sticking point. Let’s review some tips and ideas to make an online multilingual event stand out.
Event Tip #1: Selecting the Right Technology
With events moving fully or partly online, there are a host of things that businesses must consider before selecting a platform: language support, cloud-based connectivity, resilience… the list goes on! These businesses must also take into account that events are increasingly international – findings in Interprefy’s Event Management Trends 2020 report show that almost two-thirds of the 106 event managers we spoke to agreed that events are far more diverse than they were 5 years ago! As such, ensuring that attendees can listen to event content in their language of choice is key. With offline barriers to entry now removed, events are much more accessible to larger, remote audiences, and these audiences expect the option to interact with speakers and other attendees in new ways (more than three-quarters (78%) of event managers highlighted this is the case).
To capitalize on this opportunity, event organizers must be able to offer their content, and in real time, in a variety of different languages. When it comes to delivering an amazing event experience, mainstream videoconferencing platforms as all-in-one solutions fall short as they do not offer multilingual capabilities or do so with important limitations. Platforms that offer to add RSI to your tech stack, however, ensure that content can be, via an interpreter, delivered in the attendees’ language of choice. When it comes to choosing the right RSI platform the key element to consider is not only the possibility to host events on their proprietary solution but also integrate with other event platforms, as clients often prefer (or require) the use of solutions they already know and are comfortable with.
Event Tip #2: Reducing Friction
Whatever the platform ultimately chosen for an event, it needs to reduce friction. For example, some online events platforms can only support one or two sessions at once. It’s only after these sessions have concluded that others can take place, and often the speaker has to click out of their slides to bring another presenter in. It’s just not seamless enough.
Ideally, a platform should be able to provide multiple “rooms” for different seminars/speaking sessions to take place and ensure that there can be separate language channels within these rooms so that attendees can listen to the content in their language of choice as the presentation is going on. The possibility to sign up in different languages and with minimal entry points is also crucial for a frictionless experience. Platforms that allow social media sign in or attendance via a token make it much easier than having to create a designated account just to attend one event or conference.
Event Tip #3: Advertising Well in Advance
A good start is by pinpointing the ideal audience and tailoring your messages for them. What is it that the event provides that’s useful for them? How can the speakers’ content help the audience? By positioning all messaging this way, the audience will be encouraged to sign up as they don’t want to miss out on anything useful and lose traction against their competition!
Most importantly, it is essential to make it abundantly clear that the event will be delivered in multiple languages at the earliest opportunity. This is crucial because if someone is interested in an event and sees that it will be delivered in their language, the chances of them signing up increase astronomically. Engaging with the audience in advance will also help plan the best language mix accordingly and ensure availability of language options for all.
Event Tip #4: The Fun Element
What about making a fun start? Getting some music playing in the background and allowing online attendees to converse with each other in chat rooms for specific topic areas is a fun way to break the ice. This could be 15 or 30 minutes before the opening speech and attendees could be issued a reminder to join the main room 5 minutes before things kick off!
Giving attendees a chance to stretch their legs and network with others directly through the event platform is also a good idea to allow the audience to relax between speeches. It’s also worth considering running intermission videos – i.e., behind-the-scenes footage, entertainment, bloopers, or brief interviews with some of the speakers. As the event is multilingual, why not spotlight the interpreters during the break? Putting a face and a story to the voice audience listens to is a great way to increase engagement and it will give the interpreters a chance to showcase their services for future work opportunities.
Event Tip #5: Ensuring a Diverse Speaker Panel
The best multilingual events provide multiple perspectives, as this is what truly drives engagement. If the speaker panel consists of just white men in their 60s, then quite possibly the perspective will be unique as well: that of white men in their 60s. To provide real value to an increasingly global audience and make any event stand out, it needs to include experts with unique and diverse perspectives – all of whom can talk on the subject(s) for discussion.
By diversifying the speaker panel events are instantly more appealing to people from different backgrounds, languages, and cultures. Encouraging speakers to use their native languages is also an important diversity driver – after all, no matter how good a non-English speaker’s command of English, they will always feel more at ease if they can address their audience in their mother tongue. This will also encourage audience members who are not frequent users of interpreting services to get more familiar with them. Ideally it will also increase awareness from speakers on the difficult task of interpreting and might even lead to better speaker etiquette in the future!