What You Need to Know About Traveling for Work – When You Return

You’ll meet a lot of people when you travel. As mentioned in my last post, the best way to jog your memory is to jot down a few notes on their business card. Now it’s time to use that info! 

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Reconnecting with your contacts 

LinkedIn is how I personally prefer to keep in touch with professional connections. It’s like having a summarized CV of your connections and it gives you more credibility by having your CV available. 

When adding contacts to LinkedIn, try personalizing your intro message own using the notes from the business cards:

  • If they mentioned they were taking a vacation, wish them a great trip. 
  • If they mentioned they were expecting a new grandchild, send your best wishes.
  • If they mentioned that they were looking to do business in your area, offer them a coffee next time they are in town. 
  • If they had a lot to say about something, reference it in your message. This way they will know that you were actively listening and had a genuine interest in the conversation.

You get the gist of it. Remember to add contacts that you ACTUALLY met; don’t just blindly add people – it’s both annoying and unprofessional.

Send follow up messages

If you were traveling for meetings, remember to send a quick message when you return home thanking the people you met with for their time. If there were any action items from the meeting, this is a great opportunity to remind yourself and others of their responsibilities.

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Take a moment to reflect. 

I can’t stress this enough. Too often when you’re traveling for work you forget to take time to look back on how the trip went. Some things to keep in mind:

  • meetings: were there any action items (things you need to do)?
  • hotels / restaurants: how was the service? would you go back? Is it somewhere you could recommend to someone who might be travelling there?
  • new thoughts: what did you learn? Was there anything new that you discovered that can be applied to your career?
  • goals: what was the main purpose of your travel? Did you achieve your goals? Did you discover something that you should remember for a future opportunity?

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Meet with your supervisor

If you were traveling on behalf of an organization, setup a time to meet with your supervisor to discuss the outcomes of your trip. This is where you can have an open conversation about what went well and what could be improved for the next trip. If you found that the travel was somewhat unnecessary, as in the trip didn’t provide as much value as originally thought, speak up. Your supervisor will appreciate your honesty and you can use this conversation as an opportunity to explore other more suitable options.

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The people you meet when you travel – whether for work or for pleasure – can open doors, provide insights, and help influence your career path in many different ways.  It’s important to foster a connection because you never know when you might be crossing paths later in life. These are connections that you can’t find at home, because what makes them special is that they are from a different part of the world. And as for the experiences you shared together … well… everyone loves a good story.

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What You Need to Know About Traveling for Work – When You Arrive

When You Arrive

Killing it at networking events.


Pay Attention – opportunities are everywhere at a conference. Be sure to keep your head up and your eyes open when you’re at an event. You never know who you might be caught in a conversation with. Last year when I was at a cruise conference, I struck up a conversation with Mickey Arison while standing at the bar. It was a simple “Beautiful evening to be on a patio, eh?” Which triggered a 10 minute conversation about how I “must be from Canada”, the weather in Toronto and what it’s like to travel north. Oh, and my boss couldn’t believe how I just casually started a discussion with one of the biggest players in the cruise industry.

Read Body Language – if someone wants to talk to you, you’ll know. Eye contact is key here. If they keep glancing around the room, they are looking for an “exit”. Its good to know when a conversation is over and let them go. They’ll appreciate it and likely remember it for the future.

Raise Your Voice – A strong animated voice implies confidence, so be sure to speak loud enough that the person you’re speaking with can clearly understand you. Be careful not to be so loud that the entire room can hear you.


Easy on the Topics – no politics at these events. Trust me, people are more interested in talking about the weather than digging into the latest political scandal. A short jab here and there might be okay if you’re further along in the conversation but keep it light.

Dress the Part

Fashion Tip – keep it a bit conservative. A structured dress with a longer hemline and a higher neckline make women seem more approachable, while suits with a crisp white shirt are generally a safe bet for men, ties optional. Scruffiness is a gamble – keep yourself groomed. I should also mention that a woman in a tailored tuxedo is also a pretty fantastic sight.

Remember to dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Keep on top of the conference

Keeping Track – You’re going to receive a lot of business cards. Make notes when you return to your room (what they look like, what you talked about, etc) You’ll see why later.

Attend the Sessions – when you want to skip out on the sessions, remember that your employer is paying you to be there absorbing what you can so you can become a better employee. Better yet – you don’t know everything so sit your butt down and take it all in. You’ll be sure to take something away that you can bring back to the office or use as a topic of conversation at the networking events.

 

Choose Wisely – your time is valuable and your spare time is sparse. Use it wisely and take some time for yourself. It’s important to recharge those batteries so if it’s between 20 mins reading emails or 20 mins to go for a walk around town, opt for the walk. The fresh air will help clear your lungs from the stale convention centre air and boost your energy.

Avoid the Afternoon Coffee – your adrenaline is going to be pumping all day. If you think you need a pick me up, try a bottle of water instead. It’s important to stay hydrated and it will help you sleep better at night (not that you’ll be sleeping much)

Manage Your Expenses – carrying around the company card is nice, but don’t go crazy. If your workplace allows alcohol on the dinner tab, limit it to 1-2. The rest is on you, unless you receive permission from your supervisor. Be sure to set the ground rules about hospitality and hosting clients before you leave – excessive drinking on company time is not something you want to face in a performance review.

 

What You Need to Know About Traveling for Work – Before You Go

Work travel is a great opportunity to network and be immersed in the culture of a given industry. You’ll quickly learn who’s who in the industry after you’ve spent a few concentrated days at meetings and events. Here are a few things you should consider when travelling for work.

Before you go


Plan Your Outfits – you likely won’t have a lot of time to pull yourself together in the morning. Plan ahead so your outfits are coordinated and thought-out.


Pack Light – there’s a good chance your going to need to bring some extra promotional materials, gifts and meeting kits with you so make sure you leave space in your bag. Don’t worry, you’ll be returning with many gifts and materials from your trip.


Workout Clothes – one set is enough. I don’t care if you wear the same shirt 2-3 runs in a row and neither will anyone else. If you’re really put-off by it, invest in dry fit so you can wash it in the sink and it will be ready for your next run.

Create an Itinerary – there’s going to be a lot going on during your trip having an itinerary with addresses and phone numbers will help a lot. Plus it gives you a chance to plan personal time and stick to it.


Check In With Your Boss – this is your number one priority. Your boss is sending you on this trip for a purpose. Clearly identify and make note of expectations, target clients, key messaging and other important information. Don’t assume you know everything your boss is expecting.

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what defines success?

Is it a good career? Is it being surrounded by love? Is it finding happiness? Is it having an abundance of money?

 

Knowing what you want to do to be successful in life is not easily determinable; there are many factors at play and situations change regularly. I’m no expert, but I am grateful to have been able to try so many things in my short life. Family, friends, instructors and coworkers – all of whom have had an influence on who I am today and have participated in my adventurous life.

I don’t have an answer on what to do to be successful, I can only offer some advice that has helped me along the way: leap into the unknown and learn for your career, meet people to love and find happiness in obscure places. Money is worth saving, but not at the expense of life.

E.