Pat McGovern's Tips for Business Travelers
Make Packing a Reflex Action
As much as possible, I pack the same items in the same way for each trip. I can pack my bags for a two-week trip in five minutes.
I prepare a briefing book with the latest economic and business information on countries I am about to visit. I cull most of the information from the Internet.
Stick to Top Business Hotels
I'm perfectly happy to fly business class on commercial airlines. But when it comes to lodging, I seek out the best international hotels. Their business centers are a great resource; they usually have well-equipped health clubs; and their prestige tells the locals I'm going first-class.
For first-time visits, I like to arrive in a country on Saturday and spend the weekend wandering around observing people's behavior. I gain a sense of the pace and the culture: how fast people walk, how they gesture when they talk, what they wear, what they read. It puts me in sync for my Monday meetings.
In Asia, Latin America, and Africa it's good form to present your host with a gift. It needn't be lavish: a book about the city you live in, an engraved paperweight, or a silver business card holder will do just fine.
In many cultures it's considered impolite to boast about yourself or your company's accomplishments. However, talking about your children and asking about those of your hosts is a great way to bond. Also, work in references to your philanthropic activities. It suggests you will share your success with local worthy causes.