Business Travelers Lament: On The Road ... Again
Jun 27, 2015
Traveling on business can sound so glamorous! Warm tropical locations, luxurious hotels, wining and dining with interesting people ... However, the reality is more along the lines of exhaustion from driving or jet lag, scratchy bed sheets, and bad room service food in front of the TV.
Yet, whether you are lucky enough to travel on business to a resort in a sunny location or whether you are staying in a budget hotel in Sioux City, one thing remains the same: you are on company time. With that comes responsibility.
"When you are on the road, you literally become a one-person show, representing your entire company," notes Jodie Vesey, an etiquette expert who works with Laurie Richards & Associates, a professional training firm based in Hackettstown, N.J. "Your actions, words and general behavior are going to be judged by all of the people that you come in contact with during your business trip. Based on others impressions of you, you will either do your company and your self a favor, or you will be leaving a trail of negativity in your wake of poor behavior."
With that in mind, Vesey offers the following the tips for business travelers who want to greatly increase their chances of making the best impressions while on the road.
First and foremost, remember that you are on company time the entire time that you are out of the office. Don't put on your business face for the two-hour meeting, only to later go out to the pool in a skimpy swim suit and wave to your client! Act as though everything that you do will get back to your boss, because it just might!
Dress in clothes that are both comfortable and professional looking. No sweat pants or grungy weekend wear. Remember, if you are wearing a shirt with your company logo on it, everyone will know whom you are representing and will judge your company according to your actions.
If you are driving, make sure your car is clean on both the inside and the outside. The front passenger seat is the "seat of honor" and it should go to the client or the highest ranking person.
Carry plenty of one-dollar bills with you for tipping. You will look like a rookie if you do not have tip money readily available.
When it comes to tipping while traveling, who gets what? If someone helps you with your luggage, you should tip $1 per bag. The doorman at a hotel should get $1 if he provides a service for you, such as hailing a cab. Hotel housekeepers should get $2 to $3 dollars a day, and the room service delivery person should get $2.
When two people of unequal rank travel together, the person with the least amount of seniority is to take care of details such as making dinner reservations, hailing taxis, and so on.
When male and female coworkers travel together, each person is responsible for carrying his or her own luggage, and paying for their own meals.
Never over drink. It may be tempting to go with the "the company is buying" attitude, but this is a dangerous position to take. Maintain control and limit your self. Anything less will come back to haunt you!
Luggage does get lost and reservations do get messed up. Ranting and raving will not magically make your luggage appear. You will not have to sleep on the street. There is always a "Plan B" available if you stay clear-headed and flexible.
Business travel can be a great change of pace from the office and a wonderful opportunity for you to shine; take advantage of the opportunities that abound! Just remember, you never know the connection that a stranger may have to your company!
Laurie Richards is an accomplished international speaker who works with thousands of executives and association leaders. Known for her practical, interactive, and entertaining approach, Richards works with leaders, executives, entrepreneurs, sales people, and other professionals on improving communication at every level. She also lends her voice to video and audio programs in voice-over work. Richards’ experience as an international speaker and speaker coach comes into play as she helps clients strategically plan outcome-based presentations, put power into a PowerPoint (no more bored audiences), prepare for media interviews, manage crisis (before, during, and after), grow morale, build stronger teams, and improve everyday communications to directly affect the bottom line -- including new business pitches, state-of-the-organization addresses, sales presentations, and meetings. Many of Richards’ programs include personality profiling using proven Myers-Briggs, DISC, Social Styles, and other valid instruments to help clients work better as teams, improve efficiencies, select best candidates, and coach employees. Richards began her career as a legislative correspondent for Public Broadcasting. She managed leader communications for the National Pork Producers Council—the nation's largest commodity organization and originator of the successful, “Pork. The Other White Meat” campaign. Richards has hosted radio and television shows, managed one of the nation’s fastest growing public relations agencies, launched award-winning public affairs programs, and managed highly effective grassroots lobbying efforts, and facilitated professional development programs for Fortune 500 companies and associations. Richards is described as "enthusiastic, professional, effective, practical, savvy, inspiring, and enlightening." Clients note her strengths as “an innate charismatic style coupled with the ability to really connect with her audience and bring practical real-life experiences we can use immediately.” Her business clients span throughout the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia giving her first-hand experience and cross-cultural awareness. To remain relevant, Richards’ learning material includes current information reflecting today’s high-speed lifestyles, cultural changes, technological advancements, and shifting priorities. Richards has degrees in communication and business management and has earned masters’ degrees in business management and psychology. She has a variety of certifications in micro-expressions and psychological profiling. Richards is currently working toward her PhD in industrial and organizational psychology.