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Poll: Do you talk about your personal life with your clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:13
SITE STAFF
May 22, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you talk about your personal life with your clients?".

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:13
Member
German to English
+ ...
To an extent May 22, 2014

I'll mention things briefly in passing but won't bore them with the ins and outs. If the reasons I cannot take on work are personal (I'm going out for lunch, I have to pick the children up, etc.) then I will say that, or I might mention where we're going on holiday, but that is the extent of it. None of my clients could, for example, tell you my children's names or how old they are!

 

Elina Sellgren  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:13
Member (2013)
Finnish to English
+ ...
With some of them May 22, 2014

For instance, when one of my good clients was visiting his home country in South America and there was an earth quake, I sent him an email to see if he's alive, you know.. and we have discussed in passing how different our cultures are and how we are going to spend holidays and so on. It just feels natural in this case, I just have a hunch sometimes that it's ok to mention little details from time to time. I think it's a sign of a good business relationship if there's a little bit of small talk involved.

But it depends on what you call 'personal life' - I wouldn't mention deeply personal issues except when it affects my work, e.g. if someone close to me died suddenly, maybe I might miss a deadline or something and I would tell the real reason behind it.


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 02:13
Turkish to English
+ ...
No May 22, 2014

It seems unprofessional to me.

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:13
Member (2006)
German to English
Yes May 22, 2014

but only those that I have either know for years or have met personally, and not in-depth.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No May 22, 2014

Some of my «regulars» are aware that I travel a lot between Lisbon and Brussels and might say something like “are you in sunny Lisbon or in grey Brussels?” but that’s all!

Truth be told, according to the forecast, this week temperature has been higher in Brussels than in Lisbon!!!

[Edited at 2014-05-22 09:17 GMT]


 

Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:13
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Other May 22, 2014

Usually not, I think professional and personal life should be separated.
But it can happen, with some clients.

I agree with Elina when she writes

Elina Sellgren wrote:

But it depends on what you call 'personal life' - I wouldn't mention deeply personal issues except when it affects my work, e.g. if someone close to me died suddenly, maybe I might miss a deadline or something and I would tell the real reason behind it.


 

Shirley Lao  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Absolutely not May 22, 2014

I will feel offended if hey insist on doing so.

[Edited at 2014-05-22 09:40 GMT]


 

Monika Soeren (X)  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:13
Polish to German
+ ...
other May 22, 2014

I sometimes do, but these are the clients I have known for years and we met personally. And only if we have some kind of an "off-work" relationship. Otherwise not. I don't expect my doctor, for instance, to tell me about their last argument with her husband or something.

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 08:13
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
To a certain extent May 22, 2014

With a certain percentage of my customers and clients.
Socializing and mixing with customers 'after hours' here in Japan is part of the business norm.

However, I'm positive that one or two or them are closet psychopaths and I really don't want to see them 'turn' after a few wee drams of alcohol inside them. icon_biggrin.gif


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other May 22, 2014

I know that it isn't deemed "professional" to do so, but I'm afraid I am one of these people who if you ask me how I am, I might just tell you. So, rather than say "I will be out of the office" at a certain time, I tend to say I'll be at the dentist/hospital/tax office/vehicle inspection... or whatever it is that happens to be taking up my time. If I have a friendly relationship with the client in question, I may throw in the odd grump, joke or throwaway ironic observation (like "Hacienda somos todos") depending on my mood. I don't think professionalism needs to be a straitjacket.

 

Liena Vijupe  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 02:13
Member (2014)
French to Latvian
+ ...
No May 22, 2014

I don't but I also don't mind when they occasionally mention something about their family or any personal interests (not going into details). It is also good to know the reasons when they affect work - a client (journalist from abroad) once suddenly suspended a planned project because of "health reasons". I seriously was worried that she had cancer or something similar until I found out later (from her colleague who came instead) she was just pregnant.

However, everything must be appropriate and it is certainly a lot easier when you actually spend time together, not only exchange e-mails with someone not even knowing how they look.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Only if they become friends, even if still 'virtual' May 22, 2014

... otherwise it's none of OUR business!

 

Alma de Kok  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:13
Member (2006)
Polish to Dutch
+ ...
If it really affects the business relationship May 22, 2014

Talking about personal things 'smooth' the relationship with some of my clients. I tend to adapt to their expectations. Some clients enjoy knowing who they are dealing with.., some don't.

But there are situations in which you simply have to. When 15 months ago my husband suddenly died in a terrible accident, and I had to take over his 750 cows, 11 employees and everything involved with the inheritance (Dutch family in Poland...), I immediately informed my strategic clients, and the clients I worked for at that time, about what happened. I also told them, that I wouldn't be able to work for about 3 months. After that I regained everyone of them.
Sometimes they still ask how I am coping, which makes the cooperation even more agreeable.

[Edited at 2014-05-22 10:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-05-22 10:46 GMT]


 

Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:13
French to English
+ ...
Sets you apart from the crowd May 22, 2014

I think having a slightly more "personal" relationship can set you apart from the crowd. You have to gauge each client's response and play it by ear, obviously, but it doesn't do any harm to incorporate a little bit of small talk, in my opinion. When I had a new puppy, for instance, I wasn't able to work on Trados jobs as I was puppysitting downstairs and only had Wordfast on the laptop at the time. Some clients were interested and even wanted to see photos; others obviously weren't interested and either is fair enough. However, it might just make someone remember you and encourage a closer working relationship. Similarly, even asking about the weather can oil the wheels of business - much better than a staccato exchange of soulless communication!

 
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