Even though most of our international business communications have gone fully digital, International conferences are still one of the preferred ways for expanding a professional network of contacts and meeting new associates abroad.
Still, traveling to an international business conference can be stressful. Whether you’re a presenter or an attendee, you have numerous roles to fulfill and a lot of people to impress, so you need to be well prepared.
Here is how to take some of the stress off, and get yourself ready for the travel.
Plan in advance
Depending on how the host organizes the conference, you might need to do some planning to make sure everything runs smoothly. Sometimes, hosts will plan all the details, including your accommodation. In some other cases, you will need to manage it all by yourself.
Here are some of the preparations you need to do if you decide to attend the conference:
- Confirm your attendance.
- Book a flight. The earlier you book the flight, the more options you will be able to choose from, and you might even get a good deal and save some money aside.
- Find accommodation. Try to book a room in a hotel or a motel near the place where the conference will take place. This way you don’t have to worry about transportation to the facility, neither stress yourself for being in a hurry.
- Arrange someone to pick you up at the airport.
A wise thing to do is to put all the important details, such as flight schedules, your hotel’s name, and the address, and all other important information related to the conference on a list which you will always have with you.
If you’ve already made arrangements to meet some people, make sure you include their names and contacts, as well as the names of the companies they represent.
Examine possible difficulties and opportunities
International conferences provide great networking opportunities, so prepare yourself for both the small talk and some serious business conversations.
A wise thing to do is to learn more about business etiquette of the country you’re visiting, and at least a few common greetings and phrases in the native language, to show the hosts your appreciation and respect.
Also, try to get acquainted with the country’s current challenges, both the economic and political ones and to explore the current trends in your niche. Fortunately, there are some great portals online where you can find all this information organized in a single place.
One of the great examples is a digital magazine Week in China where you can find all the details you need for the local Chinese trends in the industry of your choice, but much more than that too. Such information might give you an idea of potential ways of collaboration with foreign associates, so you will know what to focus on while networking.
Research the location
It is always a good idea to thoroughly research the location of your business conference. Your conference schedule will surely occupy the most out of your time, but you’ll have some free time too, which you can use according to your own likings.
Research the city you will be staying at, and map out the most important sights you would like to visit once you’re there. Also, explore the options your hotel offers and whether it has adequate fitness facilities you can use to keep up with your daily exercise routine.
As soon as you find out the exact dates for the conference, research your travel insurance options, and choose the one that fits your needs the most. Medical expenses can be very high in foreign countries, and having your insurance covered can take some stress away in case of an emergency. Travel insurance will also cover your expenses if your luggage is stolen or lost and alleviate your inconvenience.
It’s always the best to have the checklist ready in advance so that you don’t forget to pack anything important. Your checklist should include:
- Personal items. Check whether your passport and ID are packed, as well as your travel cards and travel insurance, your driver’s license, credit cards and some cash. If you’re using some medications, pack them too, as well as your personal hygiene items.
- Business items. Don’t forget to pack your business cards and all other materials you’ll need to promote your business.
- Clothing items. You will need some professional clothes, as well as casual ones. If you plan to be active during your stay, pack some fitness clothing too.
- Technical items. Pack all the devices you will be using and their chargers. If you will be doing some work while you travel, pack the items you’ll need in your shoulder bag.
Be prepared that the conferences abroad can differ significantly in their style and tone, and culturally as well. Try to adapt to these differences, and use this opportunity to learn new things and form connections, as they might be useful one day.