It might be that because of stress, tiredness or rush, or perhaps even because of our ignorance, messages which we   translators send contradict each other. It may seem that everything has gone well, but after the meeting the client feels that it did not go well. Why such an impression?

In their work, translators use at least three languages: the source language,  the translation language, and body language. It is worth thinking about that last one. When we are meeting with a potential client, we usually assume that we should present our strengths, experience and skills. While at the conference or meeting, our attention is fully devoted to our translation, but not necessarily to ourselves. When we are focusing on verbal presentation, we are not conscious what kind of clear signals we are presenting to our listener through body language. How do these signals represent to us?

Dos and don’ts during a conversation

It may seem a bit surprising that contact with another person starts before saying a single word. The greeting we choose is important in making a good first impression.  Let’s take a look at the handshake. What is important when we are doing this? Our handshake shouldn’t be too light or too strong. We have to remember that we have to look the person whose hand we are shaking in the eye. When we greet two people or even more, we cannot shift our sight too fast  to another person. The same goes for the handshake. This may seem disrespectful and right at the beginning arouse mixed feelings in our client. Just a few moments is enough to give a feeling for what kind of person we are. Of course, this assessment does not have to be a final judgment for us, but it can contribute to this judgment. Our partner in conversation constantly interprets our body language , especially during the initial conversation.

What might go wrong during a conversation with a client?

In stressful situations, people have a tendency to shrink their body. When you shuts yourself off from strangers, you send a signal that you don’t want to talk. A lot of people also smile nervously and nod often. We are not always conscious that we are showing these signals, but from the client’s perspective it does not look professional. When under stress, most people make a lot of automatical gestures, for example, drinking from glass that is empty, which can surprise our conversation partner in negative way. Stage fright and nervous twitches prevent us from using verbal self-presentation.

Useful advice

You should practise your pose. Sit straight, do not slouch, do not cross your arms across your chest. This will show that you are an open person, you are accepting of others, that you want to get to know each other and you are interested in the conversation. Smile naturally. When you have more than one conversation partner, your sight should not be directed at only one member of the group; each person should be given the same amount of time. It is good to practise this when meeting with friends.

Moreover, I recommend exercises related to relaxation breathing, also called conscious breathing. It might sound weird, but this particular tip brings a lot of benefits. For example, it reduces tension in the body, releases stress, provides more oxygen to our brain, and most importantly, it allows you to start your business conversation  without stress.

I hope that thanks to this advice, each of your discussions will be professional and stress-free.

(Translation K.B.)

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