This is the seventh post in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events (click here to see a full list of previous posts). As explained in the first part, tips are grouped into “before the event”, “during the event” and “after the event” for easy reference. Please feel free to post below and share your tip(s)!
During the event
Tip 7: target potential clients and collaborators
While most language professionals attend industry events to learn and have fun, many also understand that investing in attending a conference or a seminar represents a great opportunity to meet potential clients and collaborators, and so increase their client and colleague database. At industry events, there will be other freelance translators and interpreters, but there will also be company representatives, sponsors and professionals who work for companies that may be hiring. So, if you are looking to meet new clients, these are the attendees you need to target. But how can we approach other attendees and find out whether they are freelance translators who, like us, are just there to learn and have fun (and probably meet clients too) or potential clients? Let’s see…
Start by approaching attendees one by one, or in groups, and open conversation. Questions such as “what services do you offer?” or “do you work for end clients or mostly agencies?” may already give you an idea of whether the other attendee is a freelancer like you or a professional working for someone else (a potential client).
Let the other person know the services you offer, the language pairs in which you work and your fields of expertise. Even if the other person is not a company representative, it may be a freelancer who can invite you to collaborate in future projects (or even send you projects they cannot handle). If the other person represents a company, information on services, languages and expertise is also relevant. In both cases, if the other person gets interested in what you have to offer (i.e. they ask questions, they follow-up on what you say, etc.), make sure you don’t leave the conversation without giving them your card.
In the case of sponsors, approach their sponsorship stand and familiarize yourself with their services. Some language service companies prepare application forms for conferences, others just invite you to leave them your contact details.
Finally, it is good practice to do some homework before the event to learn who is attending and prepare a list of potential clients and collaborators in advance. You may even contact them before the event and make arrangements to meet in person. See tips on how to plan your event here.
In the end, what matters is that you make the most out of your conference fee investment. Industry events tend to attract a good number of people and it is possible that you get a job offer from the last person you thought you would. Just make sure you are ready for the opportunity. Keep a small pile of business cards in your pocket, smile and you are all set!
Have you ever met a client or a collaborator in an industry event?
Stay tuned! The next part in this series will explain the importance of sharing your feedback once the event is over.