Bianca Bold (PLD Assistant Administrator)
Original publication: PLDATA, Volume XXII | Issue 4 | October 2013
As most seasoned and down-to-earth translators and interpreters probably know, networking is a crucial part of our life and career. However, not all of us know exactly what to do and how to behave around fellow translators and potential clients at large events, such as the ATA Conferences.
I’ve decided to interview an expert in the field and share some insight with our readers. I spoke to Walethia Aquil, a coaching professional who specializes in business etiquette, personal/professional branding, networking skills and other interesting stuff.
Walethia shared advice on how to network effectively and explained that it is not just handing out a bunch of business cards – as I’ve seen colleagues do. She emphasizes that networking is all about interacting with like-minded business people in order to (1) build new business relationships and (2) create new business opportunities.
Here are eight tips I believe to be the most useful to translators in the conference environment, where opportunities to interact face-to-face with successful, like-minded colleagues are countless. Experienced professionals probably have heard of and used most of these strategies, but it is always a good idea to revisit them every now and again, especially while warming up the engines for another industry event. Besides, newbies can always benefit from this sort of advice, whether they are first-time attendees or completely new to our profession.
Walethia’s top networking tips
- Take a positive and deliberate approach to networking. An extra level of attention makes it easier to establish relationships.
- Exude energy and passion to command respect and grab attention.
- Remain standing as much as possible. People will see you as more approachable.
- Allow others to have the spotlight. Do not monopolize the conversation and do not talk too much about yourself.
- Perfect and use your “30-second commercial” —commonly known among translators as an “elevator speech.”
- Be honest about what you can do and cannot do.
- Focus on following up and following through while you are still at the event.
- Make an effort to remember people’s names.
If you are planning to attend the next ATA Conference or another T&I event, you will probably be happy to know that, despite the wonders of modern technology, face-to-face interaction—according to Walethia—still results in the most powerful connections.
So, how about working on your elevator speech? I suggest you check out Lillian Clementi’s article, “Promoting Your Practice in 60 Seconds or Less: Mastering the Elevator Speech”.
If you’re going to the ATA Conference for the first time, you could certainly benefit from this ATA webinar: “Tips for Navigating Your First ATA Conference” – it’s available online 24/7 and, best of all, it’s FREE!
Make sure you are ready to get out there and seize all precious opportunities in every event you attend.
Walethia is a leading expert in professional branding as the CEO of Grace and Charm. Her Grace and Charm Success System has gained international attention and is used by professionals all over the world. She has helped thousands of people, including attorneys and linguists, “transform from invisible to impeccable.” Connect with Walethia on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Bianca holds a B.A. in Translation and an M.A. in Translation Studies. A native speaker of Brazilian Portuguese, she has worked with English, Spanish, and Italian since 2001, offering translation, interpreting, editing, subtitling, and courses in translation for subtitling. She is currently the PLD Assistant Administrator (2013–2015). Find more information on her website.