Meeting With Your Localization Partner: How to Do It Well

Whether you’ve only recently engaged with an external localization partner or you’ve been working together for years, chances are your teams have never met or haven’t done so in a very long time! As COVID restrictions ease and the world opens up again, in-person meetings and business trips are finally resuming, allowing for real face-to-face time.

It’s of course possible to work well remotely, but there’s value in taking some time to focus specifically on your localization partnership to improve collaboration and communication, discuss delicate topics, share feedback with no room for misunderstandings, and dive deep on particular issues or projects that you never have the time to handle properly.

When doing so, what you want to ensure is that your time is spent wisely.

Here’s how:

Allocate an appropriate amount of time

One or two hours is not enough. Make this a proper event. It could be a full day or, if possible, a two-day event, depending on how much content you’ll have to discuss. The time investment will be worth it.

Establish an agenda together

Work with your partner in advance on an agenda that can accommodate information sharing, discussions on hot topics, feedback and relationship building – and remember to allow for some breaks!


Involve the right people

You don’t need to have everyone in the room for every meeting. See who’s relevant, split the team in two if necessary to cover different areas. Having a smaller group with only the people who really need to be there should make it easier for the sessions to be interactive and engaging, with the audience listening actively and doing no work in the background. People who attend should be fully present and not be expected to be working on other tasks.

Start with an icebreaker

Especially in cases where everyone doesn’t know each other, take a few minutes at the beginning to break the ice. This will make participants more comfortable sharing their points of view during the sessions. If you are not sure where to start, you can try a simple two truths and one lie game.

Tailor your sessions to the audience

Standard presentations are good for conferences, but you’re aiming to get your message through under a tight schedule, so select information that’s most important, keep it short and simple, and make sure there’s enough time for questions and discussion.

Make lunch a time for relaxing and building personal relationships

It’s tempting to add more learning opportunities at lunchtime, but this time is better spent eating, resting, and informally building relationships.

Ensure you have some time aside for 1:1s

Don’t pack your schedule too tight. It’s very important to dedicate a little time to 1:1s. You want to make the most of your time, so choose in advance 1-2 people you want or need to spend more time with and the points you want to bring up to them.

Prepare your presentations on hot topics

This is the time to discuss important topics, especially those you need to align on. Don’t shy away from those sometimes uncomfortable conversations you need to have, you may find that you reach consensus more easily in person than in back and forth emails or on video calls.

Make sure you smooth out potential technical issues before the meeting

Technical issues can happen all the time, but make sure you can avoid them as much as possible so they don’t eat away any of your time during the event. This is especially important if there will be people connecting remotely.

Have the harder discussions first, but timebox them

Some discussions can be long. Maybe you need a proper alignment on quality expectations, for example. Ensure you timebox your sessions and that you have the trickier discussions at the beginning. You won’t have enough brainpower at the end of the day.

If you overrun a meeting time, reduce or remove the following session

Don’t fall into the trap of wanting to do it all. Sometimes, even if you timebox sessions, you’ll find that an important topic deserves more attention and decide to continue discussing it a little longer. If this happens, make adjustments to the following session.

Have 1 or 2 designated people to facilitate the sessions

Have facilitators to keep you on track and who’ll be accountable for the smooth running of the sessions. You can also appoint a note-keeper so you won’t miss any follow-up actions.

Don’t be afraid to share knowledge, within the limits of confidentiality

Where possible, be open and share knowledge with the other party. For example, it’s important they get clarity on what your company’s objectives are, where localization fits into the overall strategy, and what you are doing on your side to support your enterprise’s success.

Give feedback and ask for it, too!

A couple of days after the event, share feedback so that your partner can understand what went well and what could be improved next time. Also, make sure you ask for feedback on your side too. Were your presentations interesting to your partner? Was the information you shared enough? Anything else they want to comment on?

Follow up

Last but not least, make sure you review your notes and follow up with any action items you agreed upon during your time together with your partner.

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26 September 2022

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