Business trips with the boss offer plenty of potential for catastrophe, but they also give you a chance to shine. Here are a few tips from a recent New York Times article for making the most of your time together in cabs, airplanes, restaurants, and meetings.
1. Talk to your boss before the trip to clarify your roles and responsibilities. Make sure you know who will be taking care of logistics like transportation and reservations, as well as who will be making presentations or taking notes at meetings.
2. Double-check that everything has been packed. You don’t want to be the one responsible when presentation materials or a cable turns up missing.
3. Give a peak performance. Use the trip to show your boss how motivated you are. Offer to follow-up on requests from clients, write memos comparing vendors, or research answers to questions.
4. When things don’t go as planned, say something. If you find yourself lost or in over your head, ask questions. Most managers love to give advice and recommendations.
5. Be aware how you affect others. This is probably not the time to show off your culinary adventurousness. One dodgy meal could put you out of commission for days, breeding resentment in those forced to take over your work.
6. Stay off social networking sites. Your boss might not mind you checking into Facebook once in a while in the office, but don’t do it on the road. It looks like you’re loafing.
7. Don’t take notes on a Blackberry. People will think you are answering emails or sending texts, and not paying attention.
8. Dress conservatively, eat conservatively. It’s best not to risk shocking anyone with a micro-miniskirt in a meeting. And if your boss skips dessert and coffee, you should too.
9. Work on the plane. If your boss opens his laptop on transport, follow suit.
10. Talk less, listen more. You don’t want the details of your health or private life to become the subject of office gossip, so keep them to yourself.
11. Sum up. Prove to your boss you were the right person to take along by offering to write a trip report. Bruce Tulgan, author of It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss, tells the Times: “Come back with a stack of useful information. Not a tan.”