Be sensitive to cultural diversity at business events

The world is getting smaller and business events are increasingly international, which brings people and populations of different countries and cultures together. How does this impact your event planning?

As global meets local, cultural sensitivity is vital, in terms of catering, content, entertainment, environment, production and themes. It is vital to be aware of culturally sensitive issues such as attitudes and values within different societies, use of body language, religious beliefs and legal requirements relating to the observance of cultural or religious laws.

For example, when you have delegates from the Middle East attending an international business conference in Europe or the US, it is vital for the event organiser to be sensitive to varying cultural norms. Unfortunately, it can be all too easy to cause an unintentional offence or worse, let what you would consider to be a small issue damage a business relationship between your European/US client with their Middle Eastern customer. Your Middle Eastern guests may be far too polite to point out your error, but rest assured, it was noted and the damage done.

Our advice is to get educated about different cultural norms and exceed the expectations of your overseas visitors.

Some quick tips:

  1. Go the extra mile in terms of meeting dietary accommodations in your event catering
  2. Increase the non-alcoholic options at receptions and host a non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic bar
  3. Don’t set important meetings for the guest during prayer times and ensure there is a quiet area set aside for this purpose
  4. Display the appropriate formalities for senior executives or members of royal families
  5. Ensure you get acquainted with any VIP’s personal assistants so that the VIPs know who is meeting them when they arrive etc…

The list goes on, but if you start here, you’ll be on the right road.

If you are looking to hold an international meeting, do keep in mind the varying needs of your delegate audience. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your particular requirements.