There is more to it than jet lag
There is a new experience at work that affects the body and the mind. When traveling to other time zones and back on business, we are all familiar with “jet lag.” - a chronobiological problem where the body clock (circadian rhythm) becomes out of synchronisation with the destination time. Rhythms that dictate times for eating, sleeping, hormone regulation, body temperature variations, and other functions no longer correspond to the environment. Because people are spending longer periods in other countries on assignments, and ease of air travel is creating expectations of hands-on assignments for 14 and 21-day periods – and much longer, jet lag is only one force that impacts the health and safety of people working away from their “home base.” In many instances, for consultants especially, a home base may not have any relevancy. There are many professionals who spend years moving from place to place working with specialized firms or large transnationals on both sides of the International Dateline.
In addition to jet lag, there are different weather patterns encountered that may range from very warm to hot environments to cool or cold within short periods of travel. The weakened body becomes susceptible to viruses and infections. Food and diet is different. A business person may go from a long period of high protein diets with small portions to large servings of carbohydrates. Travellers cannot always be choosy or have the option of dietary choices in some countries. When abroad for extended periods, the body begins to accommodate the bacteria native to the local population, and these may contribute to health issues returning to home base. Language and use of words in an international business person’s first language may sound awkward when returning to base, if the language had been slowed and the use of words simplified for a local audience where a business person’s first language is a second language to clients. And the ease of access to technology required to conduct business affects certain work habits like accessing the ‘net when there is faster connectivity and greater reliability. International workers need to be prepared to work at all hours because of time zone differences between multiple clients.
These are but a few observations of a professional marketer who works with clients in different time zones and countries, and spends weeks and months on assignments abroad. I have not coined a word for this collection of impacts on the international business person. It might be the 21st century spin on time shifting. I am sure someone has thought this through and already coined the term.
Grant Lee, RPM
AGL Marketing Limited
Mobile offices – business-on-the-fly
By Grant Lee, FCInst.M., RPM
Small business entrepreneurs are on the move, dodging and weaving, advancing and retreating, like the prize fighters of old. To enjoy steady cash flow and realization of sustained profit, there is a need to keep pace and learn continuously how to apply new technology to secure repeat business and forge new alliances with the promise of future work. Marketing and sales skills have to be effective. And you must have a service or product that has value on a domestic and international scale.
If the goal is to wonder where the next cheque will come from, build a traditional business environment and work with 19th and 20th century business models. If you are healthy and looking for excitement and a lifestyle that blends business and the pleasures of life on your one trip through this existence, a mobile office may be what is missing from your business experience. Having a mobile office is a full-time job and a career choice that demands life style changes with family and friends.
Communications technology, secure access to bank accounts, no matter where you are on the face of the planet, and a trusted handler to regularly check on land mail and deposit/write cheques that cover funds that can’t be deposited electronically are key to mobile offices. The business world is shifting into a future that is hazy and unclear, but it is shifting. Entrepreneurs with mobile offices need to be able to not only understand, but be able to manipulate mobile devices and computer programs to build a seamless relationship with clients no matter what the time zone differences may be. The client needs to be able to reach you when they want to, not when convenient to you. And response is expected within moments sometimes, well within hours, and many times minutes are critical to decision-making and taking. Are you prepared for this?
My business, bride of over 40 years and I have travelled to many places and enjoyed the cultures and environment wherever business and life takes us. As soon as my children finished university, I stopped working for the “man” and began life with an incorporated business and mobile office.
I can’t remember when I had a traditional vacation. I understand the value of recreation and that is a fundamental element of my business and lifestyle. Vacation is now something foreign to my business activity. I could present strong arguments that vacations have little room in a small business. For someone with a mobile office, vacation has little value. Recreation has far greater value and includes the essence of life-long learning.
If you own a profitable small business, and business-on-the-fly has become a way of life, it is highly likely that a mobile office is a major element of the enterprise.
Are marketers becoming poor communicators?
If marketers are supposed to be to be skilled communicators, why do we become lazy and use any word or phrase that comes to mind? Speaking and writing are different uses of a language and cannot be treated as the same. Communications in word or graphics has to be precise to present a message that can be understood, clearly. The Internet is loaded with misused, overused and “banned” words and phrases. Here are a few that I try to avoid while speaking or scribbling…
“In-order-to” is especially annoying when the phrase can be replaced with the clean and tidy word, “to”. You can bet that the term “world-class” conjures images that differ in just about every mind. It has little meaning. What in the world is “double down”? I believe that it is broadcasters and politicians that enjoy this poorly-phrased descriptor. “Awesome” is mindless, thrown out to replace premium phrases like thank you, or express a feeling that is not really meant. “Moving forward” is a beauty, described in business or politics. In time, the direction is always forward unless there is a time machine other than death that can stop moving forward…ugh! And when will we stop using “boots-on-the-ground” and say what we mean when we have a person representing something, or someone in a particular place. A military term made popular during the first Gulf War by generals and mass media. And, here is another stellar use of words poorly understood; the use of troops and troopers. How many times do we have to hear about x-number of troops when referring to an exact number of individuals, or “troopers”? “At this period in time” is a very sloppy use of words. In English, period means time, or the end of a sentence. At this period, I wish to end this short rant and pass it along to you.
Marketers need to communicate precisely. I have described a few of the words and phrases that can damage the clarity of my editorial or copywriting. I am sure you have many, as well. Let’s have some fun. Place finger to keyboard so we can hear from you… moving forward!
Communicating using the inverted pyramid style
When writing storylines for advertisements, video and blogs, don’t wait to the end to make your point. Make it at the beginning and taper your message so the least valuable knowledge is placed at the end. Attention span of audiences has diminished significantly, in part (in my opinion) to the many distractions competing for the attention of an individual at any moment. Think about how comfortable and appealing that mobile device feels in your hand while someone is speaking to you. There is always that expectation of a vibration or ring tone. Many hear, but few listen. To read the full article, click here.