EHL engages in the training of volunteers of YOG Lausanne 2020

The Youth Olympic Games give much importance to the quality of the welcome provided throughout the whole event. For this reason, volunteers need to know certain values of the Games in order to better understand the behaviors that are expected of them

Hospitality in Switzerland

The Swiss hospitality is defined by 4 main values

the welcome, the service, the comfort, the excellence

In fact, worldwide, respect and popularity of products, and Swiss services are labelled as “Swissness”. This word, synonym with reliability, excellence and attention to detail embodies a positive outlook of Switzerland. It is crucial that this image is displayed worldwide during the Games and that these values are therefore conveyed in order to share them with the visitors.

In Switzerland, values such as hospitality go back to Romans, who invented the first thermal baths in Switzerland and England. Shortly after, hostels started emerging to house long-distance travelers. They were considered as the first facilities of public accommodation, as the hotels we know today. Since the 19th century, the Swiss tourism industry has benefited from the rapid expansion of railroads in order to make it an attractive holiday destinations through all seasons.

The volunteer is the face of the Youth Olympic Games. Once he/she wears the uniform, he/she represents the Games, as well as the values that Lausanne 2020 and Switzerland wish to showcase to the world.

The importance of hospitality according to the philosophy of Lausanne 2020


M. Laurent, EHL Values Ambassador

The Youth Olympic Games give great importance to the quality of the welcome provided throughout the whole event. For that reason, the volunteer needs to know certain values of the Games in order to better understand the behaviors that are expected of him. This will allow providing all stakeholders with an experience that captures these qualities.

As said in a previous video, Lausanne 2020 wishes every single to experience the values of the Olympic Movement that are: friendship, excellence and respect. As a consequence, the education of youth about sport practices, the legacy coming from the building of durable and reusable infrastructures, and friendships are the aspects that are put forward by Lausanne 2020.

Dear to the heart of the organization is the possibility to show the Swiss savoir-être (know-how-to-be) and know-how, but it is the duty of the volunteers to present themselves as ambassadors of Swiss values, by unveiling flawless welcome and service to the different stakeholders.


Non-verbal behaviors

In face-to-face communication, up to 65% of comprehension is the result of non-verbal communication. It is important to emphasize words with appropriate symbolic gestures. The body helps highlight and facilitate comprehension thanks to the posture, the smile, the gestures or the eye contact. In addition, the wearing of the uniform in a respectful way is part of the correct non-verbal behaviors to implement.

Verbal behaviors

Verbal behaviors are also important for the comprehension between individuals. It is advised to vary the volume, tone and intensity of the voice while adding breaks in order to get a message across. The volunteer should speak loud enough, not make any assumption, use a positive and mainstream vocabulary, and should not hesitate to repeat or ask to repeat.

It is interesting to note the breakdown of how verbal and non-verbal behaviors are perceived. In fact, the visual aspect represents 55%, the voice tone 38% and only 7% is left for the actual words. You can therefore see the importance of presenting yourself in an impeccable manner.

Behavior to endorse towards culture diversity

Since over 70 nationalities are convening at the YOG Lausanne 2020, the volunteers will be in contact with athletes and visitors from different countries. As a consequence, a suitable behavior in front of foreign culture is required. It is important to be cautious when sharing your thoughts about politics, religion or sexuality. It is necessary to remain neutral, pay attention to the type of humor you use, respect the image of others and don’t point nor touch someone else.

In fact, some gestures that are positive in your culture may mean the opposite for somebody coming from a different country. For instance, the symbol “like” stands for “OK, amazing, splendid” in the USA, “number 1” in Europe but is a vulgar and disrespectful gesture in Africa, certain parts of South America and the Middle East. The sign representing a circle that you can do with your thumb and index means “perfect” in the UK and the USA, “zero, lousy” in Europe, “money” in Japan and is rude in Brazil, Turkey and countries of the Mediterranean Sea.


Check the video below for more details about the training provided to the volunteers of YOG Lausanne 2020.

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