How to Prepare for a Business Meeting When Traveling
Business travel can be stressful. Even though you are traveling, you still need to respond to email and texts, receive and make phone calls, and even virtually attend meetings. There are a lot of things that you need to keep in flight during business travel and preparing for a business meeting adds even more complexity and time.
Scheduling Business Meetings
Meetings are difficult to secure with clients, prospects, and even employees and the preparation for them can take a lot of time and energy. These require a lot of planning to ensure they are successful. A Clarizen/Harris Poll found that workers spend 4.5 hours in general status meetings. Chief executives spend the equivalent of two workdays each week in meetings. For one organization surveyed by Bain & Company, workers spend 7,000 hours a year in weekly senior leadership meetings, and subordinates spend 300,000 hours in related meetings and prep time.
Initial impressions are important, and a business meeting can be a failure before it even starts. Half of professionals indicate the meetings they attend are a waste of time. The assessment is true of both in-person and virtual meetings. Virtual meetings might be worse, with one study indicating they are less productive than in-person meetings.
Preparing for a Business Meeting When Traveling: 6 Things to Do
When preparing for a business meeting when traveling, there are a number of things that a professional needs to do:
Understand what type of meeting is needed
There are different types of meetings. Understanding the type of meeting for which you are preparing is an important starting point. Five meeting types are delineated by Michael Fritsch:
1. Problem-solving meeting. Participants must work through an issue or solve a problem. Recommendation is to limit attendance to important stakeholders and those who can solve the problem.
2. Decision-making meeting. Often is a presentation of options to a decision maker. Recommendation is to use this meeting type when the facts have been investigated and the participants want to move forward with a decision.
3. Planning meeting. These are used to plan a course of action. Recommendation is to limit attendance to important stakeholders and those who will execute the planned work.
4. Status reporting/information-sharing meeting. Fritsch indicates that this meeting type is the easiest one to eliminate or reduce in frequency. He argues that the objectives associated with these meetings often can be accomplished by a written report, dashboard, and other communication means. Meetings are valuable for status reporting and information sharing when there is likely to be a lot of questions and interactions.
5. Feedback meeting. Employed to ask participants to react to recent events or information or evaluate information. The objective of these meetings often can be met by other means such as an email, posting on an intranet, and reports.
Finding a Meeting Room
When you are traveling, the last thing you have time to do is to look for a meeting room. Coffee shops are bad options for most business meetings. Hotel conference rooms are difficult and time consuming to vet and expensive. Online rented meeting room providers like Davinci Meeting Rooms make it easy for business professionals to search for and book meeting rooms that meet their business requirements. Mobile apps are especially helpful when you’re traveling—with the ability to identify and book a meeting room all from your mobile device.
Know with Whom You Are Meeting
While traveling, it is likely difficult to determine everyone who will be attending in a meeting—internally and externally. It is important to have a complete list and know the roles each person will play in the meeting. For professionals who are too busy to gather this information, live receptionists such as Davinci Live Receptionists who can make outbound calls or send outbound emails and texts are a great option. They can gather this information from internal and external meeting participants.
Put Together an Agenda Beforehand
A meeting agenda needs to be put together beforehand and sent to meeting participants. The agenda establishes objectives for the meeting but also enables participants to prepare beforehand. The agenda needs to make objectives clear and clarify expectations and responsibilities. The latter includes any pre-meeting actions required of individual participants.
Order Refreshments and Catering
Most meetings requirement beverages while others need food and beverages—and the last thing you want to worry about while traveling is finding a catering and organizing the delivery and service logistics. Relying on a meeting room provider like Davinci Meeting Rooms that offers catering services can save you a lot of time.
Confirm Your Presentation and Collaboration Tools
Coffee shops obviously lack presentation and collaboration tools needed to facilitate a productive business meeting. But so do most hotel conference rooms. If you have some attendees who will be virtual, you need to ensure that you have video conferencing capabilities. White boards, flip boards, and other on-site presentation tools are also important. Once again, if you have the right meeting room provider, then you know beforehand that you have the right collaboration and presentation tools at your fingertips.
A Pre-meeting Checklist Is Important
Failing to prepare for a business meeting can have deleterious repercussions. Even if the meeting is internal, involving only company employees, a poorly executed meeting can result in lost business opportunities and at the very least lost productivity. For meetings involving potential or existing clients, negative outcomes can include lost revenue opportunities, bad brand impressions and experiences, or lost customers.
Finding a great meeting room provider that has extensive reach in the locations where you operate as well as offers the tools and service capabilities that meet your requirements is important. When that isn’t the case, you likely will find that your business travel is often interrupted from time spent looking for and booking meeting rooms. It is also crucial that you follow a pre-meeting checklist to ensure your meeting participants are prepared for the meeting and that the meeting is productive.