From time to time, many of us go on business trips. For them to be successful, you need to be on your best behavior. To make sure your clients don’t hate you and you’re still employed when you get back from your next business trip, consider these six tips.
1. Don’t dress like you’re going on a vacation
When you’re flying to someplace like the Caribbean or you’re heading on a three-hour road trip for a personal engagement, you’ll likely try to get a little comfortable before you embark on your journey.
On business trips, even though you might be tempted to dress down, it’s unadvisable. You don’t want to appear as though you’re underestimating the importance of your trip. You don’t have to wear your nicest work clothes — that might make you look a bit nervous. But you probably don’t want to dress below business casual.
2. Try to pack lightly
If you’re flying somewhere for a short trip, try not to pack as many clothes as you’d take on a three-week backpacking trip through Europe. Whenever possible, try to stuff your clothes into your carry-on luggage so you don’t have to keep anyone waiting after your plane lands.
3. Don’t hog the bathroom in the morning
In some instances, employees have to share rooms with their coworkers on business trips. Such is life. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, act as respectfully as possible with your temporary roommate. The last thing you want is for your behavior on the road to strain your relationship further down the line.
To this end, make sure you don’t hog the bathroom in the morning. Your coworker needs the shower too. Also, go to sleep at a reasonable hour so you don’t make your colleague stay up too late against their will.
4. Be punctual, if not early
Got a flight to catch? Be the first one at the airport. Once you arrive at your destination, do everything you can to try to be the first one at any meetings or other engagements. The last thing you want is for people to think you’re wasting their time.
From your company’s perspective, punctuality shows that you understand the importance of your trip and you’re motivated to do your best job to make sure it’s a success. From a client’s perspective, it shows that you value their time.
5. Blend in during meals
You’re sitting down for dinner with three clients and two members of your team. You’re asked to order a drink. Do you go for water or wine? Whenever possible, try to follow the leads of your clients and your managers. If you’re asked what you’d like first, say you need a little time and let someone else go first.
It’s okay to order a drink or two if other members of your party are imbibing. But just make sure you don’t get too comfortable. That’s when disaster can strike.
6. Be social — but not too social
Business trips provide awesome opportunities to meet new people and network with them. They also serve as the perfect venue to get to know members of your own team better.
That being said, it’s important to remember that, no matter how comfortable you get, you’re still on a business trip. You need to be a professional. Leave the crude humor, political conversations, and questionable stories from your past at home.
Do you have any tips for business trip etiquette? We’d love to hear them!