Does attending professional conferences help get you established?
Thread poster: xxxEvelyn G
xxxEvelyn G
United States
Local time: 08:02
Jan 12, 2013

Hi everyone,

The first few conferences I attended in my early career were less helpful than the ones I attended later. Now looking back, I tend to think: had I not attended the first few, the ones later would probably not be as helpful. Getting the most out of a conference seems to be something you learn through practice. I felt awkward at some of the first conferences I attended, but now enjoy going to conferences and can often end up with more business as a result of attending a conference.

I'm curious what your experience was when you tried to get established by attending professional conferences.

Thanks,

Evelyn


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Suzanne Deliscar  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:02
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Conferences - Wait and Be Selective Jan 12, 2013

Hi Evelyn,

Great question. I had the same issue when it came to joining associations. I believe there are two schools of thought in this regard: (a) go to as many meetings as possible to get the maximum exposure, or (b) wait and be selective about the events you will attend, once you know how to market yourself appropriately.

When it came to joining associations, I chose option (b), and it worked for me, as at that point I knew what I had to offer to others, as well as the type of connections I was looking for. The awkwardness you experienced early on attending these conferences was probably a result of not really knowing what you could receive or give at these types of events, and it happens to all of us. I do agree that "practice makes perfect", but the expense of many conferences makes the "practice" part prohibitive for some. Again, the conferences I have attended were most beneficial when I knew what I had to offer and what I could receive.

Suzanne Deliscar

P.S. One way to significantly reduce or eliminate that feeling of confusion at our first conferences is to formally volunteer to help in some way.


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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:02
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
conferences Jan 12, 2013

I attended my first professional conference this fall.

Some advice for conference attendees:

1. Be sure to take business cards. Everyone will be asking for your business card and you will receive a lot from other people too.

2. Talk to as many people as possible. Everyone will want to talk to you and you will often be speaking in your source language.

3. Attend as many presentations as possible. Take notes on what you watch.

4. Keep in touch with people you met at the conference.

Conferences are an amazing experience but they can be very exhausting. I remember hardly having time to eat during the coffee and meal breaks because so many people were talking to me.

One of the disadvantages of going to a conference is that you will be too busy to accept any translation orders during this time. Unfortunately, when I was at the conference some new clients sent me e-mails for orders that I really wanted to work with. I had to decline their request because it was in the middle of the conference. It seems like whenever we are very busy is when we receive the most requests.

Sarah


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Ricardo Gouveia  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Still waiting for the best opportunity Jan 14, 2013

I am introverted, a terrible talker and very non-sociable to the point I avoid as much personal contact as possible, for the time being.
A year ago I would say I could make it without attending any conference, today I am seriously considering attending one in this or the next year. I am balancing the costs, my availability and whether I feel I can make the most of it.

I have understood how helpful conferences can be helpful for me, my business and as part of my professional development, but I am positive I will end up enjoying it and even perhaps be able to meet one or two colleagues. So for now, I say I am seriously considering attending one sometime.


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