This week I am in Bangkok and Hong Kong speaking to business professionals about networking. When you travel (especially internationally) it is easy to forget something you really need while you are in meetings or speaking to groups of people. Last month, I did an interview with an international magazine on this very topic. The reporter asked me “what should business people think about taking with them on business trips that they might not normally think about?”
First, I had to give the things that may be obvious but that you don’t want to ever forget. Things like:
- Plenty of business cards. It is never a good idea to run out of business cards while traveling. Tuck extras in your suit pockets, wallet/purse, briefcase, luggage, etc. I put stacks in many places to ensure I always have extra.
- A badge. If you do any networking while traveling on business, have your own professional badge. Don’t rely on the hosting organization to do your badge and do it right.
- Extra pens. Make sure you have a pen with you while you are doing meetings. I always find that I need to write some reminders down while I’m talking to people. It’s troublesome to track down a pen while you are networking.
Somewhat less obvious things
- The contact information (or business cards) of all your referral partners. I sometimes find that having that information at my fingertips allows me to give referrals to people while I’m out networking.
- Hand sanitizer. I know, I’m sounding a little bit like “Mr. Monk” the germ-a-phobe title character of a television series. However, I have found that since I’ve started using hand sanitizer after shaking many, many hands, that I have been getting far less colds than I used to get. Just be tactful about the way you use it. Don’t desperately spray your hands every time you shake someone’s hands or else you will be acting like Monk.
- Breath mints. As obvious as it may sound – I can assure you from experience that many people have no idea they need them!
- A memory stick. Many times I have either needed to get a copy of something OR give a copy of a file or presentation to people while out networking. Having a memory stick handy has been very helpful on several occasions.
- A camera and/or video. A camera is great if you want to memorialize some occasion or a meeting with someone important to you. A video is important for anyone that blogs. It gives you a chance to interview someone during your travels. I do this almost every time I travel.
- Tools for your business. For me, that includes many copies of my bio for introductions whenever I speak. Despite the fact that my team sends the bio in advance, there are many times when I arrive and they don’t have the bio handy. Another tool for me is a PowerPoint remote clicker. This is really important for me because I don’t want to rely on someone else to move the slides forward as a I present. Also, that memory stick I mentioned earlier. I have copies of my talk(s) on there just in case the group I’m speaking to has misplaced my presentation material.
There’s more, but this is a pretty good list. What do you think is important to bring along with you on business trips? Share it with us here in the comments section.