First let me make it 100% clear that I love my job teaching my own Provocative Change Works material around the planet. Currently through Nick Kemp Training I am teaching in 11 overseas countries with two more to come online in 2015. It’s a great life, but there are lots of factors to consider when working in this way. Often people think of this kind of job as wonderfully glamorous, failing to appreciate just how much hard work this can be!
Anyone who travels regularly knows that there are many variables to consider when planning flights, cost being just one element. It’s useful to consider who you fly with, how direct the flight is and the type of seat you get. I have never been able to justify flying business class as it seems ludicrously expensive, but am more than happy to be upgraded. Many airlines now offer “comfort seats” where you get extra leg for a minimum charge and if you are flying 10+ hours this is most welcome. I always look for the most direct flights as journey time can be massively increased if you have long waits at airports. These often can be expensive as you can spend all the money you saved on flights, on beverages and much needed food.
Some airlines are better than others and my current favourites are Emirates and Etihad, which both offer an excellent service. They have superb on flight entertainment systems, good food and comfortable seats. I used to fly KLM but once they merged with Delta in my view they really went downhill. It’s always smart to hunt around for flights as there can be a massive difference in cost. On one trip to Austin Texas there was a 70% difference in flight costs depending on date and airline! I generally use www.lastminute.com when possible to keep costs sensible. Some folks think that lots of travelling is wonderfully glamorous failing to appreciate that when you are on a 11 hour flight, with some teenager kicking the back of your seat and the person in front reclining all the way back (I hear this may actually now be changed in the future) it’s a pretty torrid experience!
Make sure you have great hosts the other end
I am lucky enough to have many excellent hosts around the globe and this makes for a far more pleasant travelling and training experience. Over the years I have also fired a few promoters who simply couldn’t cut it. Usually such folks are too disorganized, poor communicators and are poor at marketing. The worst thing for any presenter is to have a host who doesn’t give you clear responses to questions and have poor business sense.
Fortunately in total contrast I have some excellent hosts and I am delighted to work with these folks year on year. It’s a real pleasure to work with these guys and I do all I can to make sure that workshop attendees get the best possible experience. I am also happy to help my hosts in whatever way I can promote their own businesses, so this becomes a business arrangement that works for all concerned. The best hosts have great attention to detail and appreciate that looking after their presenter is only going to make for a much better training event. Two of the fastest growing countries for PCW are Japan and Hungary and both hosts in these countries have done an exceptional job in hosting events. Japan in particular was a really new experience for me a few years ago and Kimiko Bokura and Dr Kono plus staff are doing an outstanding job.
Get a great Translator for your events
Most overseas events require translation and this is also a key ingredient in ensuring that an event runs well. To date I have mostly really good experience with translators and it’s essential that the translator is able to fully express what I do and not “a version” of it! There are many ways in which translation can take place and the best ones are where the translator is at the front of the room sitting next to me so they see up close what I am doing. Smart translators match voice tone, rhythm and physical gestures.
Ensure you have downtime after travelling
It’s easy to forget that when travelling across time zones and working long hours, you also need suitable downtime to recover properly. I have learned this the hard way and now make sure that I clear the diary when I return to the UK to catch up on sleep and administrative matters. It’s also essential NOT to book too many trips back to back and generally I will only book a maximum of 12 overseas trips per year. I have giant wall planners in my office so I can see 18 months ahead at any one time and ensure I don’t get too hyperactive and enthusiastic about travelling overseas. I also run two busy clinics in the UK and have a number of non-communication projects on the go so time is precious.
As I stated at the start of this article, I love my job, but it’s also hard work with so much travel. For every day’s training, there are two days planning and organizing materials. Organizing a year’s events across numerous countries requires a great deal of paying attention to detail. I film all events so this means bringing equipment and which always poses size and weight considerations. Its a fascinating life, but one that requires a great deal of hard work too. Personally I wouldn’t have it any other way!