When traveling for business, days can extend well beyond a conventional workday. Filled with breakfast events, meetings, presentations, networking meals and cocktails, the schedule can go on and on. Especially when business brings you far from the comforts of home, this kind of travel can be exhausting.
Yet for important business that draws you from afar, it is important to exhibit Executive Presence and put forward your best professional image. Managing stress and exhaustion while traveling can help you to perform well, as well as make the experience much more enjoyable. A few steps you can take on your next business trip:
- Set aside time to yourself
With back-to-back sessions and networking around meals, many conferences or invitational meetings can go from breakfast until bedtime. Within this full schedule, ensure that you set aside a small amount of time to yourself.
Even five minutes spent alone, whether relaxing, reading, or taking a short walk, can help you to refocus and feel centred before tackling more activities and socializing. Do not do work during this time – you will feel more energized to approach work after a short break.
- Take care of business before leaving the office
Make sure everything that you need on your trip, including files, presentation slides, addresses, and schedules, are exactly where you need them – before you set foot on the plane. Without everything in an accessible, central location, like a USB drive or a single folder, you may be scrambling to find missing pieces when you arrive at your destination. This will only add to your stress.
- Energize without crashing
While there are usually endless supplies of coffee at meetings and conferences, energizing exclusively through coffee and sugar often results in a caffeine crash. Further, mindlessly drinking coffee at meetings all day likely will alter the quality of your sleep. As well, in the evening, limit alcohol consumption. You don’t want to be the one looking like you were at a party the night before. It just doesn’t bode well for your reputation notwithstanding that it’ll be difficult for you to concentrate for the rest of the day.
Instead, find other ways to energize that won’t result in crashing. Take a brief walk outside and breathe some fresh air. Drink a refreshing caffeine-free herbal tea, like mint or ginger. My favourite is Rooibos. Exercise at the hotel gym if you have time for an energizing workout.
- Maintain a “home” in your hotel room
It can be tempting simply to drop your bags in the hotel room and dig out clothes from your suitcase during your stay – it is only a temporary home, after all. Yet at the end of a long day, it can be much more calming to return to a hotel room that is organized and tidy, not one with your belongings strewn around.
Additionally, it will be better for the look and life your clothing to take a few minutes to hang and store them properly in the provided closet and drawers. A short time spent organizing can make you feel calm and collected during your trip.
Do you travel often for business? How do you manage the demands of business travel to put forward your best Executive Presence and professional image?