Traveling to a new city for business with or on behalf of a client can often lead to unexpected situations. Sometimes, delayed flights, less-than-ideal weather and many other factors associated with traveling are simply out of our control. However, preparing ahead of time and taking charge of what can be controlled will set you up for maximum success. Use these quick do’s and don’ts for smooth sailing on your next business journey.
DO: Create a one-sheet for upcoming interviews
When coordinating interviews and meetings for a client ahead of a business trip, it’s helpful to compile a brief outline that includes general information about the people with whom you’ll be meeting. After a busy day of networking, traveling or leading major presentations, it’s easy to forget the face of a journalist or misplace the phone number of the prospective client you’re set to meet. To prepare for upcoming meetings with people you’ve yet to meet in person, be sure to write the names, phone numbers, emails, and associated businesses or publications of each on a sheet of paper — and keep it with you at all times. This way, you can contact the person you are meeting even if your phone dies or you lose connection to Wi-Fi.
Pro Tip: Including a LinkedIn photo of each journalist you’re set to meet in your one-sheet can be incredibly handy. This step is crucial when searching for one specific person at a large conference with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of attendees.
DON’T: “Wing it” when choosing a meeting spot
The meeting spot, restaurant location or coffee shop you choose to discuss important business matters at can make or break a trip. Remember to research the travel time from the hotel to the meeting spot, possible noisiness and online reviews ahead of time in order to prevent any surprises. If you have the option of booking a reservation, do it for peace of mind.
Pro Tip: If you want to wow your client, go a step further by personalizing the location to their tastes. A simple gesture such as booking a reservation at a Mediterranean restaurant because your client mentioned it was their favorite type of food can go a long way.
DO: Practice your elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is more than just an introduction. A high-quality elevator pitch can position you as a leader in your field, help others understand your role and secure a new business prospect. Ideally, it’s recommended to keep your elevator pitch to around 30 to 60 seconds and to include information that describes you, your company and the professional highlights that make you stand out.
Pro Tip: It’s also helpful to practice an elevator pitch for the client you’re representing or traveling with in case you need to introduce or pitch them to a journalist or C-level executive.
DON’T: Schedule interviews too close together
Tardiness can result in a number of negative consequences, including leaving a bad first impression, missing important meeting details and appearing unprepared. While it can be difficult to miss out on an opportunity due to scheduling conflicts, it’s much worse to overbook you and your client’s itinerary and risk being late or missing an event altogether. When scheduling interviews for the day, try to think realistically about what meetings you can fit in one day and avoid committing to meetings close to lunchtime and dinner.
Pro Tip: Leave 30 minutes to an hour free in between each meeting you’re attending with your client. This allots time for potential traffic jams, a meeting that runs over or preparation ahead of the next one.
DO: Travel with extra charging cords
If you keep an iPhone charger in your bag or briefcase, it’s guaranteed you will become the best friend of everyone at the table in no time. This travel accessory will of course also prepare you for the possibility of losing battery while traveling from meeting to meeting. Our computers are our lifelines; you can keep you and your client fully connected by carrying an extra cord or two while on the go.
Pro Tip: If you, your client and/or other meeting attendees have been traveling that day, offer your extra charging cord before your meeting begins. This ice breaker shows organization, preparedness and kindness that can leave a subtle yet lasting good impression!