|As many of you know, I was away last week on a business trip. So I left last Sunday leaving my kids and my wife behind to meet a whole bunch of people that I never seen before. I had to do five cities in five days and take nine planes during this process. I can tell you, it was quite an experience!|
|You are far away from home
One thing I learned quickly back there, is that you are not home. Things are being done differently on the West Coast than back in Montreal. As the old saying says : “when you are in Rome, you have to do as Romans”. I then decided to do more listening and less talking. When you know who you are talking to, it is much easier to get along with them. I also manage to get my clothes and other stuff in the right order. It is important to be well organized as you are never staying at the same place more than twenty four hours. At the first hotel, I almost forgot all my suits in the closet! Make sure you always double/triple check you room before you leave!
Make several contacts with your bosses
Every day, I was calling my manager to make sure everything was under control at the office and to know what was coming upfront. As you are completely disconnected from reality, it is important to make a connection with your colleagues. Than, you have to call your second boss… your wife 😉 Seriously, I really missed my wife and children and I found very important to call them on a daily basis. It was also easier for my son as he could talk to me before going to bed.
Manage your conversations
One thing you have to do in your business trip is to guide conversations where you want them to go. When you are expecting concerns or issues by the clients you are meeting with, address them upfront. Let them know that you are aware of their concerns and what you did or planning on doing in order to solve them. Once you open the subject, they will remain surprised and will appreciate your honesty. If you are in a big meeting and somebody brings a specific case that you are not aware of, don’t be afraid to offer your client an individual meeting after the presentation. This way, you will contain their animosity and you will be able to continue with your presentation.
Manage your expenses
I must admit that this is quite a challenge. People are taking you out in great restaurants but they may leave you the bills on the corner of the table. Be careful about the places you go and make clear who will pay upfront. You can always ask the waiter for separate bills at the beginning of the meal. It will clear up for any ambiguity. If you have to pay for everybody, go for breakfast or lunch. Suppers are the most expensive, especially if you include wine in the equation! Your company will appreciate that you do not blow up your expenses account!
If you ever have the chance of going on a business trip, you will find it exhausting but you will also have a great opportunity to have fun. If you enjoy your trip, you will more likely make better contacts with your clients. Business relationships are all about feelings. If your clients remember the great night they had, they will become more inclined to deal with your company.
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