Whether you’re a recent college grad with a shiny new translation diploma in hand or a seasoned translator with many years of translation work under your belt, networking is crucial for building up your personal brand. Networking, in the simplest terms, is getting to know someone. The simple act of taking a moment to speak with someone after an event may lead to a lifelong industry contact. Here are some networking tips for professional translators (that also apply to professionals in general).
Networking Tips for Translators
1) Attend Industry Related Events
Where can you meet like-minded professionals in your industry? At industry events! These include continuing professional development events, translation conferences, and language shows. In addition, there are networking events specifically designed to allow you to meet professionals in your industry. You’ll likely make some new contacts by attending these events, and you might even learn a thing or two you didn’t know about your industry.
2) It’s About THEM, Not You
Have you ever been approached by a salesperson who was just awful at his job? What did he do wrong?
Chances are he made his pitch about the product and not about you. He didn’t understand your needs and wants and was not willing to take the time to listen to you. Humans are egotistic creatures. We don’t want to know how great your product is; we want to know how it can help us. Similarly, you don’t want to start a conversation with someone with a soliloquy about yourself; instead, ask them a question and allow them to respond. You’re much more likely to win someone over by giving them a chance to speak than you are if you tell them about yourself. Remember: networking is about THEM, not about you.
3) Be Genuine
Tell me if you know someone like this (or, since you’re reading this, just nod your head at the screen and smile): this person pretends to be interested in what you say; maybe they shoot you that half smile (or worse… that too-wide, creepy Nikki-Cox-smile). Even though this person comes in all shapes and sizes, there is one thing this person will always be, no matter who they are; they will always be bad networkers.
People are smart. They know when you are genuinely interested and when you’re faking it. Strive to be genuine in your interactions. Get excited about the other person’s life; offer encouragement and advice, when appropriate. People will notice when you’re genuinely interested in their lives and will reward you for it.
4) Provide Value
The goal of networking should be to help other people. If you approach every networking opportunity with this goal in mind, you are guaranteed to make some contacts. This goes along with the networking tip #2: networking is all about THEM, not you. Of course it’s nice if they help you out, but asking for favors is out of the question without first providing value to the other person.
5) Getting Contact Information
Did you have a great conversation? Don’t leave without getting the other person’s contact information – or better yet, set up a follow-up meeting. This is one of the most crucial steps in networking, but one that is often forgotten by rookies. “Well, it was nice to meet you” is not an acceptable way to end a networking conversation that went well. Ask for a business card, email address, or some other channel of contact (if you’re on LinkedIn, add them when you get home). Your chances of a successful follow-up increase even further if you get multiple channels to follow-up on.
A better way to end the conversation: “It was great speaking with you, would you like to continue this conversation over lunch sometime?”
Okay, now we’re into the nitty-gritty: follow-ups. You’ve had a great conversation with someone, gotten their contact information, and it’s time to follow up. First, let’s discuss the worst case scenario: you call/email/snail-mail (just kidding) your new industry contact and they don’t respond within the first week. What now?
Don’t panic. Chances are they haven’t seen your message yet or have not gotten a chance to respond. If you left them a voicemail, resist the urge to call them three more times. Instead, send them an email after a week following up on the phone call… But definitely don’t send them an email or voicemail every other day. No one likes an overly-attached networker.
Networking is one of the most powerful tools in a translator’s arsenal. In addition to giving you the chance to meet other professionals in your industry, networking can lead to new job opportunities, open doors to new clients, and help you stay up-to-date with changes in your industry and niche.
- How do you define success?
- 5 Ways to Increase Productivity as a Freelancer
- 5 Golden Rules for Finding Entry-Level Translation Jobs
- Top 3 Things to Ask a Language Interpreting Company Before You Hire
For free blog updates and exclusive content, join our blog subscriber list here.