Since I started Genuine Translations, I’ve found it interesting to read and hear about what different people think of networking events.
On one hand, most people agree they are a great opportunity to introduce themselves and their business to others; and they do establish some contact with those they’ve met after the events. On the other hand, finding as many people to speak to as possible and repeating yourself (and your smile) several times within a few hours or minutes puts many of us off.
Personally, I always end up with a headache. But is it worth it? Would I do it again? My answer is yes!
During the last week, I have attended a couple of networking events for local businesses in Cheltenham, where I live and where Genuine Translations was born. When I told some of the attendees that I’m a translator and I run a translation agency in Cheltenham, from their looks I sensed they were thinking: “wow, are those real?” and their immediate question was: “how many languages do you speak?”
It’s true most people don’t come across translators in their everyday activities as much as they do with other local businesses, unless your work normally requires translation services or you are lucky enough to have a qualified translator as a friend or relative. It’s also true that translation companies in Cheltenham or Gloucestershire aren’t abundant. But does that mean translators can’t really benefit from local business networking events?
Well, I like looking at it this way: instead of attending these events to find as many prospective clients as possible, why don’t you relax a bit and go there to simply have a chat, face to face, with other professionals, see the type of businesses in your local area and what they are doing, and establish a professional relationship before a business one? Many of these people may never need your services, but they can eventually refer you to others and support you in many ways.
And it doesn’t end there! These events are also your opportunity to get your name and brand out there and, most importantly, to cautiously educate people on what translation really is and how the industry works. I say “cautiously” because there are people who already know this, so you don’t want to sound too patronising!
Strategies to advance our profession is an excellent article written by Nicole Y. Adams which also highlights the need for translators to get away from their computers more often and be ambassadors of this wonderful profession. Spread the love!