I recently came back from the worst travel trip of my life. Although I have traveled all over the world, this was a simple trip to California yet it quickly moved to the top of the "disaster" list. I won't bore you with the gory details but it gave me food for thought about the relevance of business travel and the lessons one can learn.
Lesson # 1:
It doesn't matter about the difficulty in getting there. They fact is that people expect you to show up unless there is a catastrophe. The largest audience ever was there to hear my presentation and they really didn't care how difficult my ordeal in getting there was; they just wanted to hear what I had to say.
It's not the clothes or the makeup that people come to see, it's the speaker or expert. I've made presentations in various arrays of dress in the past but this was the first time I gave a keynote in jeans, T-shirt and running shoes. The point being the audience looks past all that. They are there for the content and not the person's appearance.
Humor helps in almost any situation. I opened my speech explaining that I was in rehearsal from "Trains, Planes and Automobiles Part #2." That lightened the moment and made a connection instantly with those who travels regularly. Plus it made me feel better too.
Don't get caught up in the ordeal. Make the most of the time you have available. I my case, I had time to reestablish old relationships (longtime member Jan Gates) and make new ones.
Show me the money. Sob story aside it's always important to make the people who invited you realize the received a value for their money. So do what you can do to provide support after the fact? In my case, I made myself available after the presentation and provided notes for distribution to the audience of about 400.
So remember besides the aggravation of business travel and lost luggage (I did manage to get it back upon my return), take advantage of every moment to enjoy yourself and connect with the people.
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