Perhaps you attended my presentation on networking at the Professional Development Day in September 2017, or at the SENSE Jubilee Conference in November 2015. Or perhaps you read my 2016 article in eSense 40. But even if you’ve never heard of me, you will likely know that freelance language professionals need to use their networks to bring in new client and stay up to date with developments. (By the way, I hope those of you who attended the conference have, like me, gone on LinkedIn and connected with all those new people you met at the conference. That’s what those business cards are for – then you can throw them in the paper bin!)
Despite all my well-meaning advice to other freelancers, I recently found myself telling myself off at a networking event. It’s so easy to forget those ground rules! The rule I broke? – remembering that not only are the people in your own network potential clients, but also the people in their networks.
I moved house several months ago to a massive new housing development that the Dutch call a Vinex-location (did you know that Vinex stands for Vierde Nota Ruimtelijke Ordening Extra?). It turns out that the Stadshagen development in Zwolle not only houses more than 20,000 people, it also has a local business network. The Stadshagen Ondernemers Platform meets regularly just two minutes’ walk from my house, so how could I not go?
The theme of their June meeting was – most excitingly – insurance for business owners, which is actually a topic close to my heart as I am currently sorting out disability insurance and liability insurance for my business. (More about that in another post soon I hope – I’m still getting the paperwork sorted.)
A fellow freelancer from my Broodfonds in Zwolle first gave a presentation about the concept (see my previous article in eSense 44 for more info on this) and about her own experiences after having to report sick. This was followed by a presentation on insurance for business owners, disability insurance in particular, given by an insurance broker who has his own company – very down to earth and easy to follow I must say.
After questions and plenty of discussion about the various options for insuring yourself, but before the networking borrel – probably what many of us came for – it was time for a couple of agenda items from the organizing committee. One was a reminder to email them a business card to ask to be profiled on the SOP’s Facebook page to promote our businesses. After all, the page has 250 followers and the freelance florist who was on there recently got several hundred likes.
And here it comes: ‘So what?’, I thought. ‘There’s no point in me advertising my services to other business owners in the area as this is not where my clients are. My potential clients are at universities, hospitals and private companies, not here in the neighbourhood. That’s more for the freelance florists, coaches, event planners, financial advisers and online marketing consultants, not for me.’ WRONG! All those freelancers have their own networks. And the people in their networks may need scientific reports writing or manuscripts editing, or be looking for someone to teach a writing course at their company/lab/university/department.
So as I wandered out to the terrace with a drink in my hand, doing my best to overcome that fear of not knowing anyone and wondering what to say, I ended up giving myself a good talking-to and made sure that I let people know what I did, that I enjoyed what I did and that I am good at it! And yes, I will be sending in my business card to profile my business on the Facebook page – you just never know.
Do you have a networking story to tell? One that led to work? Or even one that went badly? Add your story to the comments or write your own post for the blog. We’d love to hear from you.
Sally Hill is an editor and writer for the SENSE blog and newsletter and a British biologist-turned-linguist who runs a business called Scientific Texts.
Sunday, 10 June
15:45–17:00, Boat trip on the Binnendieze: leave Hotel Centraal together
On this fifty-minute boat trip through the underground waterways of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, you will see all aspects of the Binnendieze river (the river that flows through and underneath the city). Travelling along the small waterways you can admire the finest spots of the historical city centre. The skipper-guide will tell you about the history and restoration of the walls, underpasses and arches. After passing through the Kruisbroedershekel you will leave the fortified city and arrive at the Singelgracht. The boat will then take you through the Grote Hekel and you will continue the tour within the city walls. We have reserved three boats for our group and have requested English speaking guides, though this cannot be guaranteed.
Departure point: Voldersgat: on the corner of Zuidwal – Oude Dieze (within walking distance of Hotel Central)
Price: €12.50 per person (non-refundable, including bottle of water).
Maximum 16 people per boat, if we fill up one boat, we will open registration for a second boat.
Saturday, 9 June
10:00–12:00, Guided tour of ’s-Hertogenbosch : starts from Hotel Centraal
The tour will take you to the city highlights and is timed to arrive back at Hotel Central by 12:00, when registration opens for the conference. You can leave your luggage at the hotel before the walking tour starts.
Price: €7.50 per person, (non-refundable, including bottle of water)
Friday, 8 June
10:00–12:30, Visit to Van Gogh Village, Nuenen
You will experience Brabant hospitality at the SENSE 2018 conference. The sightseeing tour on the Friday will also give you the opportunity to tread in the footsteps of a native of Brabant, and one of the most famous painters of all time: Vincent van Gogh.
To see genuine Van Gogh paintings you’ll have to stay in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, because you won’t see any on this trip to the village of Nuenen. What you will see is where Van Gogh’s career as a painter began: where he produced his first masterpiece and a quarter of his work, all in the space of two years.
PROGRAMME FOR FRIDAY 8 JUNE
Travel to Nuenen, by car or public transport. It’s about a half-hour drive from ’s-Hertogenbosch. Parking is free in the village centre. Arrive at Café Restaurant Comigo between 09:00 and 10.00. Four activities are planned:
Vincentre museum: this exhibition opened eight years ago and is about Vincent van Gogh’s life from birth until the day he left Nuenen for Antwerp in 1885. It details how he painted his first masterpiece The Potato Eaters in the village. The museum provides an audio guide in English (or seven other languages) and has a shop and small café. The visit will take about one hour.
A walking tour of the open-air museum with an English-speaking guide. Nowhere in the world has more locations with a connection to Van Gogh than Nuenen: 22 buildings or sites that he painted or lived or worked in. These include his parents’ house and the church which was the subject of the painting that was stolen in 2002 and recovered last year. The walking tour will take about one hour.
Nune Ville, the home of Vincent’s lover Margot Begemann, was renovated last year. It usually only opens on Saturdays, but the owner has agreed to let us visit on the Friday. It is still a private home, but one room has been restored in authentic style and there is an interesting attic. The tour, which the owner will give, will take about 30 minutes.
If you don’t have to travel back to ’s-Hertogenbosch for workshops in the afternoon you can enjoy a typical Brabant lunch at Opwetten Watermill. Van Gogh painted this working watermill, because he often passed it on his way to buy paint in Eindhoven. Lunch will include soup, sourdough bread with various fillings, meat or vegetarian croquette and one drink (beer, wine or soft drink). Special dietary requirements can be catered for if you let us know in advance. Lunch will finish at about 14:30. You are then free to explore the village or make your way back home – or to your hotel.
VAN GOGH VILLAGE NUENEN is offering SENSE members and conference delegates a 50% discount, the price for our tour is:
Full tour including lunch: €30.00 per person
Full tour without lunch: €15.00 per person
(Travel to and from Nuenen, coffee on arrival and extra drinks at lunch are not included in the price.)
You will receive details of public transport to Nuenen and where to park in the village at a later date.
In association with:
Stephen Johnston is a professional trainer, copywriter and journalist who works with multi-national companies on projects such as websites, internal and external communication, white papers, marketing material, brochures, corporate journalism, and speechwriting ... and blogs!
Much of this work involves specifically targeting different readership groups. Stephen also upgrades previously written texts and/or provides one tone-of-voice for texts with multiple authors to increase their impact and professionalism. He also conducts workshops and training sessions to improve the quality of business writing and presenting.
Stephen is giving a pre-conference workshop entitled The impossible blog: How to write a readable blog from unreadable material.
Tony Parr (pictured) and Marcel Lemmens are professional business translators and translator trainers. Both have extensive experience as translators (both freelance and in-house) and as teachers of translation, principally at the National College of Translation in Maastricht. They are the authors of Handboek voor de Vertaler Nederlands–Engels. Operating under the name of Teamwork, they have been organising courses, workshops and conferences for language professionals in the Netherlands since 1993.
Tony and Marcel’s workshop-style conference presentation is entitled Identifying and rectifying translatorese.
Susannah Goss is a Scientific Editor at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. She has the Chartered Institute of Linguists’ Diploma in Translation and a European Master’s Degree in Linguistics. Having been thrown into the LaTeX deep end a few years ago (and almost sinking), she is motivated to offer other language professionals a gentler introduction to LaTeX.
Susannah will be co-presenting a double conference session with Ailish Maher entitled Editing documents produced in LaTeX, for which laptops are recommended.
Martine is a freelance copywriter, storyteller and communications consultant. Born in the Netherlands, but travelled the world living in Jamaica, Indonesia, Zimbabwe and the UK. Because she is a native speaker of both English and Dutch, she writes in both languages. She studied English Language and Literature at Leiden University here in the Netherlands.
Since setting up her business she’s been lucky enough to work for a vast array of people and companies. She’s written articles for magazines, blog posts, annual and strategic reports, corporate books and many, many websites.
She enjoys writing. Why? ‘Because every piece of writing challenges me to tell a new story. Writing and storytelling are crafts that can be acquired. But, perhaps more importantly, I’ve found that they are crafts that can make things happen in the real world,’ according to Martine.
Martine's main conference presentation is entitled Scribe or shrink? Improving client relationships and winning more clients the easy way - by getting into their heads! She is also presenting a TED-style conference talk entitled Making ideas happen! Using the power within to tackle the things that are scary and just ‘do it’.
After receiving his first degree (modern languages), Jeremy Gardner taught English for 15 years at the universities of Perugia, Cagliari, Cosenza and Ancona. He then moved to Luxembourg, to work as a translator at the European Union. His tasks there include editing original English texts and working as an interpreter/auditor during official visits to the Member States, Italy, in particular. He is also a member of the EU’s inter-institutional style guide committee and played a significant role in drafting the current version.
In 2012, Jeremy published a tongue-in-cheek guide to misused words in EU publications, which attracted considerable attention in the media, both in Europe and beyond and has since written articles on other aspects of the English used at the EU institutions.
He is also involved in training activities aimed at improving the level of drafting within the EU, delivering presentations and workshops both in the EU institutions and beyond.
Jeremy is opening the conference with a plenary talk entitled EU English: Past, present and conditional.