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It’s time for a surprise – and one that tackles inclusion at events! If you’ve been paying attention, you know we already covered IMEX Frankfurt. Both on Event Tech Podcast and #EventIcons, we shared a lot of good stuff from this fantastic conference. However, that simply didn’t cut it for the team of Endless Events! And because we want to share as much useful content with as possible and had so many great interviews, we have a little extra something for you.

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Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of the interviews with iconic people from the industry. Each #EventIcons IMEX special will take on a different topic. And of course, some very important titans from the event world, who shared their insights, strategies, and opinions with us. We’ll begin by talking about inclusion at events, with special guests Melissa Lamson, Rhonda Brewer, Maarten Vanneste and Kim Ludvigsen. Check out the highlights and full interviews below!

Gender Balance In Events


Brandt Krueger and Will Curran sat down with Melissa Lamson from Lamson Consulting to talk about gender balance. To kick things off, Melissa begins by giving us some interesting facts: “With meeting planners, it’s predominantly… there are a lot more women than men in the industry. But a lot of the clients they interact with, and corporate stakeholders, are predominantly men”.

What can be done in order to make sure things stay balanced from a gender perspective? Melissa gives some very useful tips, such as “implementing courses, coaching (…) just have conversations about what it is like to work with women, what is like to work with men. Having those kinds of conversations is really straightforward. And I think that’s helpful”.

Brandt raises the relevant issue of power dynamics, and how can men become allies without coming off as a “hero to the rescue”. In regards to this, Melissa shares that “operating with some intention”, and getting people to work towards a goal helps. “Unravelling some of the myths of taking a leadership role” also arises as an important strategy. “It’s about prioritizing”, she adds. “It’s working smarter, not necessarily working more”.

In the end, it’s all about communication and understanding the other person. In this case, the other gender. “Just have those open conversations, and be willing to put yourself out there a little bit, and maybe a little vulnerable”, is the main takeaway from Brandt.

Talking About Mentorship and Sexual Harassment


For an interesting chat about mentorship and sexual harassment, we welcomed Rhonda Brewer from BCD Meetings & Events. Together with Brandt Krueger and Lindsay Martin-Bilbrey, the three went a bit deeper into the topic of gender balance. When it comes to mentorship, Rhonda believes in a two-way approach: “We need to really understand the next generation, and how we can bring them along with us. At the same time, we need to educate them and mentor them on our industry and how they can have a broader voice”.

On the topic of a study carried out by BCD Meetings & Events, Rhonda tackles gender balance, offering some precious insights: “We really need to involve our male colleagues, because we need to understand how they view it”, she says. “We’re all in this together. So how can we be inclusive and understand each other’s problems, and how do we then face it together, and figure out how we can work through that”.

“Of the women that I know in AV, almost all of them have experienced one form or another of just weird little rude comments”, adds Brandt. “It’s a very complicated subject and one that we have to continue to talk about”.

Conversation And Inclusion


How often do you think about acronyms? More specifically, how often do you think about the acronyms that are part of the event industry? Well, probably not frequently enough – none of us do! But on the matter of inclusion at events, our host Tahira Endean sat down with Maarten Vanneste of the Meeting Design Institute.

Maarten has a very interesting new acronym to introduce: “Q&A is not good enough. It’s just a few people that are activated in a group, while with conversations and input, which is C&I (conversation and inclusion), it allows everybody to speak”. Amazing, right? Here’s how it would work – “you create small groups, and you give them a topic, and they talk for a few minutes and give their input”.

Participants “learn more, they network in a very intense way, and they just love it”. It adds so much to communication and engagement, even though Maarten feels like “many people are skeptical or afraid to do this”. However, he adds that “we need to help them with this because if we can find it to be as simple and as easy to use as Q&A then I think we changed the industry”.

Translating Your Event


It’s a globalized world we are living in. The term “global village” isn’t used just because, and anyone who works in the event industry is aware of this. More and more arises the wish to make your event as inclusive a possible, to bring in an international crowd that can be a part of what you’re planning. To further discuss the endless possibilities of translation for events, Will Curran had a chat with Kim Ludvigsen of Interprefy.

Interperfy is a game changer, that allows you to have someone translating your event in real time, from anywhere in the world. They even had an event with a record-breaking 102 interpreters! “Of course it needs a very sort of tight organization to control and monitor and support all these interpreters”, warns Kim.

Ludvigsen also shares some of his best tips for anyone who’d like to become fluent in the art of translating events. For instance, the interpreters themselves, “the better you can help them, the better they work. (…) Interpreters appreciate very much when they can get the presentation materials or the manuscripts, give them time to prepare, keep them informed”.

“The advantage of our platform is that they (the interpreters) don’t have to be there if you don’t need them there”, further explains Kim. “With remote, you can organize it short-term, you have much more flexibility. If you suddenly need more languages, within hours we can set up everything you need”.

“Conference organizers should really understand how to attract broader audiences, delegates from abroad, by providing simultaneous interpreting”, is Kim’s number one tip. “On top of it, with RSI you can also have delegates and participants listening remotely”, he adds.

That’s a Wrap! 

That’s it for the first edition of IMEX interviews for #EventIcons! This time it was all about inclusion at events. Curious to know what comes next? Make sure to subscribe to the blog to be the first to know when the next brand-new roundup of the IMEX Frankfurt’s greatest hits goes live!

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Will Curran

Author Will Curran

Information junkie, energetic, and work-a-holic are just some of the words we can use to describe Will Curran. Aside from spending 20 out of 24 hours a day working as the Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, you can catch Will ordering a chai latte or watching The Flash with his cats. He is also well known for his love of all things pretzels.

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