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