Business Travel 101: General Tips

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You’ve landed … finally.

Your three-and-a-half-hour flight got in 2 minutes early (thankfully!) and you are ready to hit the ground running with meetings today and a business dinner tonight.

And you are anticipating having a packed three days before you hop back on a plane and come home to some kiddos who have really been missing mommy or daddy.

We’ve got a couple tips on how to making your trip feel a little more “at home.”

Tip 1: Unpack

Most people don’t enjoy living out of a suitcase, and it is surprising how many people who travel for business keep their clothes all folded and in their suitcase for the trip.

We’d say, hang up your clothes in that little closet in your hotel room. And while you do, take some deep breaths and think about where you’ll be for this trip.

You can use this to ground yourself and mentally prepare for the next few days.

Tip 2: Go to the Grocery Store

Often times while traveling for work, it can feel like you are always eating out (because often you are!).

We’d recommend you take a quick trip to the store to pick up a couple of things. Maybe you love mangos, or chips and salsa. Grab a couple of your favorite items and be on your way.

Tip 3: Do Something for You

Often on business trips, the days are packed and you’ve got to figure out how to squeeze in all your regular responsibilities into an already packed day.

It can be so easy to run from 6am-6pm (or later), and by the end of the trip feel even more exhausted.

On each trip you take, we’d recommend you get out and go do something in the city or town you are in. Need some ideas to get started:

  • Go for a run or hike to see a different view than you usually do.
  • Take a little time to walk around the city after your dinner.
  • Drive past the cool monument or statue in the city you are in.
  • Go to dinner at a live music place.

So, on your next trip, try these out and let us know how they go! Oh, and feel free to leave us your best business travel tips!

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Setting Priorities when Things are Crazy

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We’ve all had those moments… you know, those moments when you are happily sitting at your desk knocking things out and then your phone rings and you hear:

“Heyyyy, so we’ve got a new project that we’ve got to get done by tomorrow” YIKES!

Instantly it’s all hands on deck and your to-do list is totally thrown out the window.

BUT – there are still things on that list that you need to get done! You can feel your heart rate start to heighten and your palms get sweaty – now what?!

How do you deal with the fires?

Step 1: Calm it down!

You know you’re not at your best when you are stressed. Nothing productive gets done well when you are in that space.

Do what you need to do to get back to a place of thinking in your logical brain verses thinking from your stress. How do you actually DO that?

  • Take a couple of long (6-8 second) deep breaths
  • Get out of the office for a minute, go walk across the street to grab a cup of tea or coffee
  • Plan for a quick run during your lunch break

Step 2: Take a step back

Make a list of all of the items that HAVE to get done today or tomorrow. Look to see if there is anything that you can push out another day or two, or delegate to someone on your team (need tips on how to delegate effectively? Check out here, here, and here).

Communicate with those around you of what came up: tell you boss that you’ve been handed this last-minute task and you’re prioritizing it, let your team know that you’ve been handed a huge project and that you’ll probably be a little more on edge today. Being transparent with those around you will serve you all well!

Step 3: Set Realistic Expectations

You know you can’t do everything, so start thinking through your to-do’s in buckets.

Bucket 1 – Quick knock-outs: Is there an item or two that you can complete in the next 20 or 30 minutes? Do those quickly – spend no longer than 30 minutes on each. Feeling better as things start to be checked off your to-do list? Great. Move to bucket 2.

Bucket 2 – the biggies: Buckle down and knock out the most important/time sensitive item. Is someone waiting for a piece from you to be able to work on theirs? Tackle that now.

Bucket 3 – Finish it up! Circle back to those important items that take a little longer.

Try these out and let us know your best practices in dealing with fires!

But They are Boring….

Bored

There are SO many things on your plate right now that having another conversation with [insert that person’s name here – oh, you know who they are!] seems unbearable.

Yes – they deserve your respect, and you DO respect them. But talking to them is just. so. BORING. It feels like you have nothing in common and you’d rather undergo a root canal than getting stuck talking with them at the company happy hour again.

This week we have the treat of having Coach Brooke O’Shea with us to share some tips on what to do if you are talking to someone who you are finding boring.

Take it away, Brooke!

Brooke O'Shea-  Word BubbleDear “Bored”,

From time to time we all find ourselves in scenarios where it is difficult to make meaningful connections with others.  I would encourage you to ask yourself a few questions when in these situations:

  • First, what is your desired goal of engaging with this individual?  
  • Second, what is your counterpart’s potential goal of engaging with you?  
  • Third, are the difficulties you are experiencing based on language barriers, personality types, beliefs, gender, generational differences, etc.?  
  • AND finally, have you considered all options in finding common ground?

Assuming that you and the other party have mutual benefits for connecting, the next step is to consider what barriers you are encountering in finding a common interest.  

While exercising caution to avoid becoming an interrogator, continue to ask open-ended questions around topics you enjoy until you find that thing that the other person’s eyes light up about! I personally find that by asking more questions, I can typically find a topic we both find passion around.   

My “tip” for those who find small talk awkward, prepare a few subjects that interest you ahead of finding yourself in those difficult social situations. Plan to discuss a current book you are reading, a TV show, an exercise routine, upcoming travel plans, the town where you grew up, or where you hope to retire – those can get your juices flowing!

Thanks, Brooke!

Let us know how these tips work for you!

Cutting In Line

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Your day has been busy running in and out of meetings.

As you’re on your way back to your desk, your direct report stops you saying, “hey, I have been meaning to talk with you about….”

As they are talking all you can think about is the next thing you are going to say. You even find it hard to let them finish their point because you are so ready to jump in.

If this is you, then this week we’ve got some tips for you!

One of our great Coaches, Helen Cooper, is here to give us some tips on what to do if you tend to think about your next point while the person you are talking to is still finishing.

Take it away Helen…

 

Helen Cooper- Blog“Thinking ahead is a natural response in a fast-paced environment.

It requires focused behavior to understand and acknowledge another thought/opinion.

I use a couple of tricks to ‘slow down’ mental responses.

  • Try to engage differently by ‘listening’ more intently.
  • Focus on the key points the person is trying to make.
  • Don’t formulate a response immediately.
  • Use visual cues, they are really helpful.
  • Try to maintain eye contact when the person is speaking.
  • Don’t be distracted by texts or devices, stay engaged in the moment.
  • Check your understanding by paraphrasing the key points.
  • Think back to research or school days when trying to understand the key learning points in a lecture (really try focusing on content!) before thinking about a potential application!

Thanks, Helen!

If this is you, then this week then try out of Helen’s tips and let us know how it goes!

Listening… Even When You’re Busy!

No body hates a listener

You can see your colleague’s mouth moving, but the words are starting to drift off…

*ding, ding*

Your phone busses with an email from a client

No… focus, what was he saying again?

*Knock, knock* at your door… it’s your boss –

“Hey, quick reminder, we’ve got that business development meeting in 10 minutes, don’t be late”.

“I’ll be there!” you say quickly.

Ok – refocus… You look at your colleague and say, “I’m sorry, so in wrapping up….”

Ultimately, we want to listen – but in the busyness of life, it is so easy to get distracted.

And, for some of us, really listening can be challenging.

Over the next few weeks, we will be hearing from some of our great Coaches on tips on how to listen well, even when it’s hard!

Need help right now? If you’re finding it difficult to really focus on what the person you are talking to is saying, here are a couple of tips to start with:

  1. Put your phone on silent (this is such an easy distractor when it’s buzzing!)
  1. Prepare yourself to listen (relax and get comfortable)
  1. Try to really understand the other person’s point of view (ask “how” or “what” questions to gather even greater understanding)
  1. Listen to both words AND tone to gauge a deeper understanding of what they are thinking or feeling
  1. Watch for non-verbal communication cues for other feelings or reactions (these can be facial expressions, eye movements, or gestures).

Try these out and let us know how they go!