Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

Networking Works

It also nets you profit. (Sorry. Couldn't resist. Anyway. Back to serious business.)

The Internet is a wonderful tool for freelancers. You can find and court new clients, work jobs, get paid, and talk about everything, all without leaving your desk.

But in the era of email, Facebook, Skype conferences, webinars, Twitter, scans, texting, all the connections you could possibly ask for...one is missing. One connection, the face-to-face human connection. It gets lost in the ease of doing business. And it's a shame, really.

I took a trip to NYC last week to reconnect with old and make new contacts, but the most important part of the trip was the the five different meetings I had with colleagues I've already been working with for months, or even years, solely through email. Maybe the occasional phone call, if we're lucky. And it's so hard to read emotion and personality via email.

For all the work I've done with these people -- a project manager, a publicist, even my editor -- I didn't really know anything about them. Not how they smile, not even how they speak. And it's hard to feel secure in a business relationship without that personal connection. It's hard to trust someone's judgement with your creations if you can't look them in the eye when asking questions. 

After meeting in person, that trust builds up the other way, too. Five wonderful meetings later, I got numerous offers of "how can I help you as we move forward?" or "here's a good editor, should I pass your name along?" or "you are on our list for this type of job, right? no? I'm putting you on." So much future potential from the people I was already working with, just because we finally got to look one another in the eye and have a lovely conversation over a cup of tea or a glass of lemonade. (It was hot last week.)

So yes. Do it. Try to meet everyone you work with in person, at least once. Set up a meeting if you pass through their city. Go out of your way to end up in their city, if you must. It'll be worth it.