Business trips are all about presentation, about arriving in style, and of course about making a good first impression. You wouldn’t want to meet with potential clientele, investors, and business partners all sweaty or lacking the professional attire or paperwork to conduct the meeting properly. Here’s a guide to help you impress people on your first or next business trip.
Make a checklist of what you need to bring so you don’t forget anything important. Leaving the comforts of your home means you’ll be leaving the things you’ve been accustomed to, such as your shaving kit, hair products, and clothes. Write it down and start packing it one by one. Your checklist should also include the documents and paperwork you’ll need to bring, such as passport and business reports. Pack your stuff in a carry-on with wheels and/or a shoulder bag for better mobility. Having to drag bulky and heavy luggage through a city you aren’t familiar with can be a nightmare.
Dress to Impress
When traveling for business reasons, you represent the company and the brand. It can look bad for your brand’s reputation if you arrive to meetings in sweatpants and hoodies. Some companies will have a dress code for business trips, but in case your employer doesn’t, the general rule of thumb is to wear something that you would normally wear in the office. Invest in accessories, such as a pair of sunnies for summertime business travel, a watch for time-keeping, and a suitcase for bringing essentials from your hotel to the meeting place.
Punctuality is expected of any professional, especially during a business meeting. Arriving on time lets you acclimate yourself to the environment and prepare your pitch before the actual meeting takes place. Arriving to the meeting late not only makes you look unprofessional, but it can also ruin your train of thought when presenting your business proposals or project. If your flight arrives with only a few minutes to spare before a meeting, make sure that you’ve arranged a car service to pick you up and drop you off. Doing this at the last minute can just add stress and frustration to your agenda.
Read Up on Local Etiquette
Business practices are different from one country to the next. Shaking hands may denote respect in one country, but might mean something entirely different in another. If you’re going on an international business trip, make sure to brush up on the local etiquette to avoid accidentally disrespecting the people you’re meeting with. In Japan, for instance, business cards should always be handed and received with both hands. In Germany, business talk is straightforward and firm, so it’s best to save the jokes and humor for another time.
Be a Good Entertainer
While a business meeting is no place for parlor tricks and games, clients still expect to have a good time after all business matters are concluded. Brush up on your small talk, especially if you’re an introvert. You’ll want to avoid awkward silences when hosting business clients and investors. Plan where you’ll go after the meeting, such as a bar or restaurant. Even if your business proposal makes sense on paper, clients and investors can still be wary of doing business with you if they don’t know you on a personal level. Being a good entertainer can impress your clients and investors as much as a well-tailored presentation.
A fruitful business trip is a result of thorough planning and meticulous preparation. Be on your best behavior, but don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the new places you go to. Maybe meet up with a friend after you’ve concluded your business or just tour the new city and soak up the energy. There’s no sense in trying to ace every meeting and succeed in your profession if you don’t take a breather and enjoy the benefits of hard work.