You likely get dozens of invitations to industry conferences every year, promising plenty of insights from keynote speakers, presenters, and panelists. But are they a good use of your time and money?
Some of the main reasons for joining such events are fairly obvious, like meeting like-minded people and learning from thought leaders, but there’s more to it. In this article, we’ll explain why localization and globalization conferences matter when it comes to professional growth and career opportunities.
Explore and adapt to trends
It’s no secret that the latest industry trends are usually at the core of conference themes and topics. These events are an invaluable source of information about what’s happening and how things are expected to evolve in your sector. Not only will you learn about the trends, you’ll also gain insight into how you can adapt to these.
Such knowledge helps professionals know what to focus on when brushing up on their skills and making sure they stay relevant in an industry that’s constantly evolving.
For example, Smartcat’s translation industry research study has revealed major gaps and inefficiencies in the linguistic supply chain. These findings shed light on areas with room for improvement, allowing localization managers to zero in on optimizing budgets and streamlining localization workflows to improve efficiency without sacrificing translation quality.
Translation Industry Report
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Industry experts always have their own experience to fall back on so they may have some useful advice for your own situation or specific challenges.
2. Network with the right people
Another well-known fact is that conferences strengthen professional communities by bringing together specialists from different countries and companies. You also get to meet fellow professionals from other cultural environments eager to share their experiences building successful businesses. This means you can learn from first-hand experiences in other places that you may be considering expanding to.
Keep an eye on social media to see what countries the conference coversto make sure your area is represented too.
For example, if you decide to attend Smartcat’s LocTalk conference this year, you’ll be able to learn from and interact with like-minded experts from at least eight countries.
3. Check out the competitors
Hearing about success stories and case studies is a great way to see how varied and context-specific approaches and strategies can be. It’s an opportunity to learn about how others implemented specific tactics and how it helped their companies grow and solve common problems.
You can use these experiences to assess your own circumstances and decide whether you’d benefit from actioning a similar approach or doing something completely different.
As an example, our Expondo case study shows how a business can increase productivity while reducing outsourcing costs. Check it out!
Write down the key points from all the sessions and take some time to think about how these could be applied in your professional practice. Not everything will be relevant but there may well be a concept or solution you hadn’t thought about that will pay off if you apply it to your business.
4. Meet new suppliers and prospects
Hundreds and thousands of people attend conferences, and some may need your services or offer something of value to you.
Apart from building new connections, you can leverage existing relationships by having customers act as brand ambassadors to help you generate new leads and even turn some of them into prospects right away.
Do some research on the speakers, companies, and attendees beforehand, if you can. You might not have a full list of the attendees, but you can start with the speakers and the sponsoring companies, and use LinkedIn to dive deeper and expand your network.
5. Keep an eye out for new job opportunities
You’re not always visiting a conference on behalf of your company, sometimes it’s your initiative. So, as you make new connections, why not take this as an opportunityto put out feelers about any new job openings, share your CV, or maybe even set up a potential job interview?
Make sure you have a good idea about what you’re looking for. A new full-time job? Some freelancing projects? Setting clear goals will help you find the right people and companies to reach out to.
Also, be sure to update your LinkedIn profile and have a portfolio at hand.
6. Boost your skills
Once you’re up to date with the latest news in the industry, it’s important to move on to honing your skills or developing new ones. There’s always something to learn, even for a seasoned professional. And even if you’re happy with your hard skills you might benefit from working on your soft skills.
Get out of your comfort zone! Join at least one presentation or panel discussion in an area you don’t have much experience in. Or, if this feels too radical, start by switching session formats from workshops and discussions to single-speaker presentations and back.
7. Explore new tools
You can always find a new solution on the internet any time you need it, but what if you’re not even aware of the latest software advancements to know what products you should be searching for online?
Conferences may have live demonstrations, FAQ sessions, and special offers on the most recent products and technologies that could save you and your team hours, and your company thousands of dollars.
Come ready with a wish list of the products and features you’re interested in finding out more about. Then, check out the exhibition area (physical or virtual) to see what’s available.
8. Start conversations and be open
Conferences are inspiring, sparking your imagination and interests in a way no other medium can quite achieve. But how enriching your experience is will depend on how active you’re willing to be. Sspeak up and share your ideas to see how others react and expand upon them. Be open to different opinions – they may help you gain new insight and see things from a fresh new perspective.
Listen to what people say and follow up on conversations beyond the conference. This will help you gain momentum and potential feedback as you develop your ideas and expand your network.
9. Get a certificate
Many conferences and seminars offer more than just presentations. They may also offer training and tests on various topics where you can get certified.
Certifications can add value to your knowledge and skills, and in many cases they are free.
Check the conference agenda beforehand to make sure you won’tmiss anything important to you, and remember to save your spot in advance.
10. Update your CV
Many recruiters see the value in attending industry conferences so why not mention it in your CV? This can help you stand out, even if there is no certification involved, as it demonstrates your engagement with the field and growth potential.
Act fast: add the conference details to your resume as soon as you’re back home as everything will be fresh in your mind.
Conferences: the place to learn and grow
As you can see, attending a conference is a worthy investment in yourself and your future. Plus, they can be a lot of fun!
Apart from improving your knowledge and skills, you get the chance to meet your industry heroes and exchange thoughts on a variety of topics with fellow professionals.
There are too many conferences out there for you to be able to go to them all, so how do you go about choosing which to attend?
More tips to help you make the most of conferences
- Research the conference organizer. Reputation matters: the best speakers only go to the best events with the best hosts.
- Check out how long the conference has been around. The more editions that have taken place, the more experienced the organizers will be at selecting topics, engaging with the audience, and running the event smoothly on the day.
- Find out who the keynote speakers are. They usually representthe tone and theme for the conference so it’s always good if you share similar ideas and interests.
- Check that topics align with your goals. And don’t forget that you’re here to learn and grow professionally, so make sure you leave with plenty of valuable, tips, tricks, and insights.
By now you can probably tell why we just can’t wait to invite you to our first edition of the LocTalk localization conference. You might have heard about LocFromHome, the industry’s biggest online localization conference. Well, we’ve changed the name to LocTalk and updated the format to make each session even more dynamic — 50% presentation, 50% discussion, packed into 30 minutes.
With past presentations from companies such as Netflix, Zendesk, Ikea, Philips, and PayPal, this year’s conference will bring you fresh ideas, bold predictions, and useful tips to help you develop your localization strategy.