It is really nice to participate actively on a conference. Isn’t it?

You know it is. You really enjoy taking part on great event sessions such as fishbowls, birds of feathers, open spaces, coach clinic and alike.

The problem is when two languages are involved and not everyone speak both languages.

Here is the scenario which I have been experiencing for the past five years: Since I returned to Brazil in 2010, I participate on many Brazilian conferences, and many of these invite external speakers, which typically don’t speak Portuguese.

Usually, professional translators with great equipment are available while they are speaking. But the problem is after their talks, during the more conversational and spontaneous sessions. Typically the translator and their equipment are not available anymore.

These amazing people love to talk about their stuff. And they also want to hear from the locals. And they want to actively participate in conversations.

The problem, they don’t speak Portuguese, and some of the locals don’t speak English.

Therefore David Hussman and I (Paulo Caroli) created this new style of pairing: the conversational event dude pairing.

Dude is anyone who doesn’t speak the local language. In this example dude is The Dude, David Hussman.

Basically, someone who speaks both languages and enjoy similar topics pair up with the dude.

It was a simple idea and easy to implement. As a consequence, David could effectively participate in a great fishbowl conversation in Portuguese. And the locals (who would not understand English) could follow the conversation.

David Hussman and Paulo Caroli

David Hussman and Paulo Caroli, pairing on a fishbowl

The picture above is from the fishbowl on the AgileTrends São Paulo 2016 conference. On it, David and I were doing the conversational event dude pairing. David and everyone (including myself) could follow the conversation despite of the different spoken languages.

So, on your next event, look for the dude. Then give it a try.  Everyone will fully participate on the event, despite of the dual language challenge.