Getting the most out of industry events: Part eight 1

This is the eighth 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)!


After the event

Tip 8: share your feedback

So, the event is over. You are on your way to the airport, the bus station, the parking lot, or you are already home, and you have all these new ideas, and people’s names, and plans. With the conference badge still hanging from your neck, you remember some of the concepts that were discussed during presentations and the great time you had over dinner with colleges. You know your investment paid off. Well, now is the time to let others know what you think of the event, how you feel, what you learned and how much fun you had. Why? For many reasons:

  • Sharing your feedback on presentations will not only be a nice gesture towards those who gave them (i.e. speakers) and help them to know what you think, what you’ve learned and even improve upon their presentation for future events, but also encourage other attendees to do the same. Be it positive or negative feedback, all adds to the speaker’s experience and to attendees’ knowledge.
  • Sharing your general feedback on the event (event organization, timing, meals, etc.) will let the organizer know how their efforts turned out. It takes a lot of time, patience and creativity to organize a great event. If you had a good time and you are going home having learned something new, let the organizer know. Organizers will appreciate your feedback after working for months on an event that, for them, was over before they couldn’t even notice.
  • Sharing photos and videos is also a good way of reinforcing the true sense of community that is fostered during an event, and will also encourage others to do the same. Eventually, anyone can go back to those pictures and videos, see who attended, remember names and decide to attend a future event.

Tweets on ProZ.com 2013 international conference in Porto, Portugal

If you have never organized and event, you should know that there are more people and hours involved than you think. From event organizers to speakers, from sponsors to assistants, from designers to venue personnel, everyone has a lot of responsibilities and works hard so that you can just sit, learn, network and have fun. So if you are satisfied with an event you attended, take a couple of minutes and let all these people know (use the event hashtag on Twitter or Facebook, or just send them an email). All of those involved will appreciate it.

Do you share feedback on events you attend?

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The next part in this series will suggest tips to keep in touch with attendees via email and social networks. Stay tuned!

Getting the most out of industry events: Part seven 1

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?

Share below.


Stay tuned! The next part in this series will explain the importance of sharing your feedback once the event is over.

Getting the most out of industry events: Part six Reply

This is the sixth 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 6: make an impression

Attending an industry event means meeting a good number of people for the first time. And it’s not just people you are meeting, these are individuals who have the potential of becoming clients or collaborators in the future. So, you will want to make a good first impression and be remembered once the event ends.

But how can we make sure we are ready to make a good first impression on these potential clients and collaborators? Here are some tips:

ProZ.com 2012 regional event in Lyon, France

Dress for the occasion: the first thing people will see when meeting you is you. At first sight, these people won’t know who you are, the experience you have, the services you offer or anything related to your personal or professional background. So, a good starting point for getting people interested in you is to reflect your professionalism with the appropriate outfit. Clothes, jewelry, make-up, etc. are taken into account by those who don’t know us when making an initial judgement. Business casual is probably what you want to wear for a conference, whether you are attending or presenting at one. For men, it may be easier than for women. However, both can be comfortable, fashionable and professional at the same.

Watch your body language: when talking to someone for the fist time, make sure your body language reflects confidence. Make eye contact, keep your hands to your side or in your lap, don’t bite your fingernails or a pen, try to sit or stand up straight, but relaxed (you don’t want to look like a robot either!), and smile. All these will tell the other person a lot about your mood and yourself.

Listen: when approaching someone, do so with genuine interest to know them. Don’t just talk about yourself, but also –and most importantly– listen to what the other person has to say. Ask questions, comment on what your interlocutor says, show interest and, with this, become interesting yourself.

Be yourself: even when the purpose of event networking is professionally-oriented, you don’t need to be promoting yourself and selling your services at all times. Not everyone will want to discuss rates or CAT tools, and some people may even get annoyed at receiving unsolicited resumes. Sometimes the best way to promote your business is to not do it at all and just be yourself. Use your intuition to know who is looking for colleagues to work with, who is looking for service providers or who is simply attending the event to learn more and have fun.

Close on a good note: whether you have nothing else to say or the conversation with your interlocutor dragged too long already, try to end it positively to increase the chances for future conversations. Make a closing remark about one of the topics discussed (“I’ll read that book you recommended then.”) or apologize for having to do something else, but let them know that it was good meeting them and give them your business card. You may also make use of your body language, offer a handshake or grab your purse.

It is said that you will never have a second chance to create a good first impression and industry events are no exception. The first impression someone has of us may be the result of their experience and the environment. However, we can add to these by doing things right the first time.

Do you know any other tips to make a good first impression?

Share below.


The next part in this series will suggest tips to gain new clients and collaborators during an industry event . Stay tuned!

 

Getting the most out of industry events: Part five 2

This is the fifth post in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events (see Part onePart twoPart three and Part four). 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 5: leave shyness at home

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Coffee break at the last ProZ.com regional conference in Porto, Portugal (May 24th, 2014)

Some people are more open than others to new experiences and to meeting new people. However, most of us may inevitably experience some level of anxiety when attending an industry event. At some point, arriving at a place we have never been to before, introducing ourselves to unknown people, socializing or engaging in conversation may make us feel uncomfortable and nervous. This, in turn, may affect how we behave around others, how others see us and how we will be remembered when the event is over.

So, what can we do to overcome shyness and get the most out of networking opportunities during industry events? Here are some tips:

  • Make a mental list of conversation starters: try to think of two or three topics that may interest other event attendees (rates, clients, marketing, CAT tools) and use these to open conversations and keep them going. You may start by introducing yourself and then asking the other person a question (“Hi, I’m Joe Doe. I’m from Spain. Where are you from? Do you offer your services internationally or to local clients only?”).
  • Approach people you know: start by looking for one or two attendees that you may know (from social networks, from past events, from contacting them prior to the event, etc.) and warm up slowly, initiating small talk, asking questions, smiling. Once you feel more at ease with yourself, reach out to other attendees, join small groups, introduce yourself, ask them if they are having a good time.
  • Avoid seating or wandering about alone: during event presentations, coffee breaks and meals, try to always seat or stand next to other attendees. But, careful! Seating next to colleagues or simply standing next to them won’t do the trick (don’t expect others to welcome you just because you are there). Talk to them, introduce yourself, smile, make eye-contact.
  • Breath, smile and relax: most of the people in the room feel just like you and are there for the same reasons: to learn, network and have fun. So, go ahead, take a deep breath, relax your body (no arms crossed!), put your phone in your pocket and give yourself the chance to know them and them the chance to know you.

And if all of the above fails, here is the best tip of all: be yourself. Yes, you are a language professional, but you are also you. You work as a translator or as an interpreter, but you also have a personal life that others may be interested in or may identify with. Keep your personal style, let others know who you are, where you come form, what interests you. This is what attracts not only clients and colleagues, but also friends.

How do you overcome shyness?

Share below.

(Don’t be shy)

The next part in this series will propose tips to make an impression during an industry event. Stay tuned!

 

Getting the most out of industry events: Part four 5

This is the fourth post in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events (see Part one, Part two and Part three). As explained in the first part, tips will be 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)!


Before the event

Tip 4: design a marketing plan

In general, attending conferences and other industry events costs not only time, but also money. Taking a couple of days off, sometimes travelling and staying at hotels, attending networking dinners, all these represent an expense. However, as your own business owner, it’s up to you to turn these expenses into an investment. How? By designing a marketing plan to be implemented before, during and after the event, and that allows you to see a return of your investment through new clients and collaborators.

GabrielCabrera

Personalized business cookies baked by Gabriel Cabrera and shared with attendees to the ProZ.com 2013 regional event in Madrid, Spain.

The first step in drafting a marketing plan to be implemented when attending an industry event may consist of defining three basic points:

  • What you want to accomplish: define your marketing goals. Do you want to make yourself / your company known? Do you want to build better relationships with colleagues? Do you want to meet new clients / collaborators? Do you want to share information, content or opinions with others in the industry? Do you want to explore new service types / approaches? Do you want to raise funds to support a further investment?
  • What tools you will use: make a list of the marketing tools you will use to reach your goals. Social media tools, CV / resume, business cards, demos, other marketing items.
  • How you will use those tools: decide how you will use each marketing tool. Will you give a business card to every attendee or just to those who may be potential clients / collaborators? Will you give a demo presentation of your services to potential clients only or to everyone? Will you use social media to target potential clients, potential clients and colleagues in general, or potential clients and potential collaborators? Will you give a copy of your CV to sponsors? Defining the use of your marketing tools will require defining your target audience and this will depend on what you want to accomplish.

Other important points may relate to timing (when you will use marketing tools or when you’d like to accomplish your marketing goals).

Once you have defined marketing goals, tools and their use, it’s time to implement your plan. Keep in mind that there are plenty of marketing strategies you can apply even weeks before an event (most of these using online resources). Start announcing your attendance to the event, show potential attendees how you are preparing yourself, get in touch with attendees you will want to meet in person and make arrangements. Almost everything counts when it comes to promoting yourself while learning, networking and having fun!

Do you have a marketing plan for attending industry events? What does it include?

Post below.


The next part in this series will start introducing tips to get the most out of industry events while they occur. Stay tuned!

Getting the most out of industry events: Part three Reply

This is the third post in a “Getting the most out of translation industry events” weekly series. As explained in the first part, tips will be 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)!


Before the event

Tip 2: plan your event

Attending an industry event should be more than just showing up. Yes, signing up and being there are important, but these two may not pay off if not supported by some serious planning. Mind you that planning here does not entail flight and hotel booking, or finding a good friend who is willing to water your plants. Planning your event means preparing yourself to learn, network and have fun.

iStock_000017671802XSmallIf you are planning to attend an industry event, here are some tips for you to start making your own plans:

  • Carefully pick the sessions you will attend: check the conference program and the learning objectives of each session. Keeping in mind your own learning objectives and your business plan, sign up for sessions that will provide you with information that you don’t have and that could help you to improve your work and expand your business (i.e. presentations that you could not give yourself).
  • Prepare questions: once you have signed up for sessions of your interest, prepare a set of questions for which you would like answers. You may ask these questions during the QA portion of the session, or to the speaker during a coffee break or at lunch.
  • Know the speakers: familiarize yourself with speakers, know their names, their background and the presentations they will be offering. Remember that, even if you are not attending a given speaker’s session, you will still have plenty of opportunities to network with them and discuss topics of interest to both.
  • Know the sponsors: in general, translation industry events are sponsored by companies that are also part of this industry and that may offer a wide range of solutions to language professionals. Find out who is sponsoring the event you are attending and what they offer. Do they sell language services? If so, are they hiring? Do they sell translator software tools? Which ones? Can you get a demo for free?
  • Spot attendees with common interests: if there is a list of attendees available, search for colleagues working in your top language pairs and fields of expertise. Get their names and, if possible, contact them in advance and make plans to share a drink. Meeting with colleagues who have the same specialization could help you to learn more about your niche (rates, volume, types of clients, etc.).
  • Share your plan with others: now that you are familiar with sessions and have signed up for the ones that interest you, and you know the speakers, the sponsors and a few colleagues with the same interests as you, share your plans with other attendees. Let colleagues know the sessions you are planning to attend and why, the questions you would like those sessions to answer, the speakers you can’t wait to meet. This will encourage other attendees to do the same and set the tone for the event before it even starts. For more pre-event networking tips, see Getting the most out of industry events: Part one and Getting the most out of industry events: Part two.

Remember, if you want to optimize the value of attending an industry event, making plans before attending is as important as showing up that day (if not more!). Think of your plan as a strategy to achieve a return on your investment of time and money into an event. In the end, you will attend an event to network, but also to learn how to do your job better and more efficiently.

Do you make your own plan before attending industry events? 

Post below.


The next part in this series will discuss tips to develop a marketing plan before attending an industry event depending on your goal(s).

Getting the most out of industry events: Part two Reply

This is the second post in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events. As explained in the first part in this series, tips will be 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)!


Before the event

Tip 2: keep yourself updated

It is not uncommon for event registrants to forget all about an event after confirming their participation and until a week or two before the event takes place. This may happen due to work overload or simply because they believe there isn’t anything else they can do until the event happens. However, it is actually by staying up-to-date about event-related news that registrants will not only know more about the event (what is being planned, what has been changed or updated, etc.), but also apply some strategies to get the most out of it.

Here are some tips to stay up-to-date on industry event news:

  • PisaConfTwitter

    ProZ.com 2014 international conference on Twitter (#PisaConf)

    Know, check and use event hashtag: in general, industry events have an associated hashtag (i.e. a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media sites to identify messages on a specific topic) used by event organizers, presenters, sponsors and attendees to keep each other in the loop via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook (sometimes, event organizers may even create an event page on Facebook as well). If you are planning to attend an event, make sure you know the related hashtag and that you check it regularly to learn more about event latest news (changes in program, new social events being organized, etc.). Also, use the event hashtag to let others know your plans, the presentations you have decided to attend or the social events for which you have signed up.

  • Join mailing list: industry events may also have an associated mailing list you can join. This will allow you to receive regular updates on related news in your email inbox, and even reply with questions or comments.
  • Check event page: normally, industry events have a landing page that contains the most important information about the event and links to other pages containing details. You can add this page to your browser bookmarks and check it regularly to see if any announcements are being made there.
  • Check and use forums: forums threads may be opened for specific events either on the event landing page or somewhere else (in social networks for instance). Check and track these forum threads to learn more about event news and use them to share your event plans and expectations, ask questions or schedule meetings with other attendees.

With the advancements in technology (social media and web tools), staying updated on event related news is easy and there is almost no excuse for not knowing what is going on with an event you will attend or how to get the most out of it. Make sure you use news resources to know more about any industry event in which you invest money so that such investment counts.

How do you stay updated on event-related news? 

What strategies have worked for you? What haven’t?

Post below.


The next part in this series will explain how to plan your event in advance. Just stay updated on how to get the most our of industry events!