Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio August
Back to Basics
By Louise M. Felsher, CMM, CMP
WORKING SMART ON THE ROAD
How to use your traveling time efficiently and still keep
Achieving efficiency on the road is one of the neatest tricks a
planner can learn. The following are a number of ways to maximize
your time while keeping on top of the details.
Try asking your employer to pay for a business lounge membership
such as American’s Admiral’s Club ($450 or 60,000 miles). Joining
generally allows you to bring up to two colleagues along to the
lounge, where you can set up in comfortable chairs and focus on the
tasks to come. Many of these clubs offer meeting rooms and
workstations with phones.
More time and money savings come from lounge agents who expedite
ticket and seat changes and move you to the head of the line on
Your employer might not want to pay a few hundred dollars a year
to get several thousand dollars in labor back. If you can’t get
your organization to pay for the perk, consider cashing in miles
for a membership.
IN THE AIR
To make working while flying easier, skip carrying bulky papers and
put the information you need on CDs. Save your muscles for the
weight of an extra laptop battery.
Ask to be seated at the bulkhead so a reclining passenger in
front of you does not destroy your computer or make it impossible
for you to open it. (But beware: Families with small children often
are allocated bulkhead spaces.)
As you could be asked to turn your computer off at a moment’s
notice, it’s wise to save, save and save again. Many programs can
be configured to save changes every five minutes if you
consistently forget to do it yourself.
CARS AND TRAINS
Talking on the phone in the car is best only if you are not behind
the wheel, so use drive time for organizing your thoughts. A small
recorder helps you get the most from these moments. As a passenger,
this is the perfect time to make nonconfidential phone calls or
listen to messages.
Similarly, trains are great meeting venues for colleagues who
are traveling together. Some rail lines even have meeting cars if
you need space to spread out.
IN THE HOTEL
More moderately priced hotels are adding high-speed in-room
Internet access, but travelers still should be prepared to work
with a dial-up connection. To avoid lying on your stomach on the
floor in order to make that connection, pack a long phone cord.
Before leaving home, set up all your Internet connections, such
as firewall navigation, dial-up numbers (including your calling
card, so you do not incur high hotel fees), country codes, etc.
WATCH THE CLOCK
A common pitfall for the working traveler is the double shift.
Here’s the scenario: You finish your full day on local time, only
to spend several hours communicating with the office, which is on
California time; or you get up early to collaborate with East Coast
colleagues when you’re on the West Coast. Resist the temptation to
blow-torch the candle from both ends. Before traveling, set
realistic hours with your office team. Limit yourself to one hour
at the end or beginning of the day to catch up on the hottest
Keep to your usual workday pattern as much as possible. If you
work an extra hour in the morning or in the evening at home, it’s
OK to expect to put in an extra hour on the road; but don’t try to
put in a full day running the meeting and then cram in a full day’s
worth of desk work.
Keep your rest time sacred. Turn your phone OFF. And get a
massage or exercise anything that relaxes you and takes your mind
away from the job for a little while.
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