Where travelling is concerned, it’s very easy to adopt a more relaxed stance. It’s a break from routine and a chance to see and do something differently and it usually implies. However, as many business travellers can attest, it’s not the case when you’re travelling for work. Yes, it’s a break from routine – but that’s about it. Think of it as a temporary relocation of your office.
Another aspect which will change the usual travel dynamics is the opportunity to travel with your boss. Now, though some of you may argue that you have an excellent relationship with your boss, it’s the fact that you’re in a different environment coupled with the stresses and change in attitude this brings along, which might have an impact on how you behave and ultimately, on your relationship.
We’ve had a look at various experiences from seasoned business travellers and we came up with a list of things you should know, before you even show up at the airport.
Or preferably, 10 minutes early. Be it at the airport, or before you leave the hotel in the morning, make sure you’re slightly earlier than planned so you never leave your boss waiting for you.
Your boss asks for a particular document? “I’ve got it right here. Made a couple of copies too just in case”. The time of a particular meeting? “Let me check… it’s at 3pm. Plenty of time to meet Mr Smith and have lunch”. Knowing your stuff and keeping tabs on the whole trip will definitely throw your approach to work in a positive light.
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Remember, you’re still going to work, even when the offices overlook beaches or are in the middle of shopping avenues. Pack office-sensible clothes which can be mixed and matched so you have a different outfit every day.
Remember, this is still your boss. Some topics might be best avoided so you never risk getting in uncomfortable situations or awkward discussions. Have a ready “easy” topic at hand which you can switch to when you feel the need to escape certain questions or statements. It’s easy to slide in discussions which are usually off the radar, especially if you’re spending long hours sitting next to each other. Be friendly but steer clear of anything which is too personal.
If he shows inclinations to talk work, engage in it. If she’s showing signs that she’d like to relax, feel free to put on your eye mask and doze off. If he asks you what you feel like doing it’s the perfect time to ask any burning questions (business related, obviously) you might have.
Never assume everything will always be paid for. Get your own cash with you and although you don’t have to offer to pay your boss anything, it would be a nice gesture, if anything, to do so, especially if you decide to go for an informal lunch.
Know your limits and don’t even get close, especially if you’re drinking on the plane where it has a stronger effect because of the pressurised air. If your boss is comfortable having 3 drinks, it doesn’t mean you should.
True organization can only be achieved if you know what is expected of you. Make sure you dedicate time to discuss what kind of duties you’ll be taking on before you depart. This will not create confusion, especially when there are things that need to be pre-arranged, such as bookings or meetings.
Being rude will never reflect well on you. If you have a habit of dismissing waiters or taxi drivers for instance, it’s time to re-think your attitude. If you believe that being offered a service gives you the right to treat the person on the other end as if he or she were beneath you, should your boss be doing the same? Be polite and understanding at all times. The old saying “Treat people the way you’d like to be treated” goes a long way in establishing a good rapport.
If the expression on your face is a constant reflection of stress and tension, it’s not the best way to be representing your company and your boss will notice this. Be confident, enjoy the trip and carry a smile on your face. Know your stuff ahead of time and you’ll leave a lasting, positive impression on your boss.
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