Most meeting planners are frequent travelers, jetting about the country and the globe, to coordinate wonderful events. Among the skill set of all meeting planners is one that is most valuable and this attention to detail. No detail goes unnoticed by the savvy and organized planner. The detail we will explore today is an important one – security.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Robert Riesmeyer, Co-Founder and Safety Instructor of Traveling Aware, a company that offers “a complete Safe Travel Training Course that teaches travelers valuable tips and techniques on how to stay safe while traveling in the states or abroad.”
Robert shared several important tips that one must observe when traveling. This information is valuable for not only the meeting planner, but also for event attendees.
- Practice situational awareness. Situational awareness is at the core of each piece of advice listed here, but is also worth mentioning as the number one tip. When traveling, it is very easy to get lost in the scenery, or in finding the correct place to be, or even in searching for a restroom or Starbucks. Don’t let awareness wane, it’s very important to remain aware.
- Research before travel. Know the customs and culture of the destination. This is especially important with international travel. Research can be completed at state.gov.
- Pay attention to physical surroundings. When entering a new building, look for the exits. Know more than one way to get out in the event of a fire, attack, or other emergency. Playing “what if…” may provoke a bit of anxiety, but it can also keep everyone safe.
- Pay attention to people. Unfortunately, being aware of surroundings is about more than seeing who has on the cutest pair of shoes. Be aware of unusual behavior or circumstances. Who doesn’t fit into the situation? Two men in suits at a large festival, where everyone else is in casual attire, seem out of place, put some attention on them. That couple arguing loudly in the airport may be creating a diversion for the person who is stealing other’s bags.
- Never confront. Though it is wise to be aware of people and their behavior, it is not a good idea to confront the suspicious individual as this could create a dangerous situation. Leave the situation. Get help if needed.
- Use common sense. As a planner, it is common to use local vendors for food and beverage; it’s green, economical, and adds flair to the event. Keep all on the professional level and discourage late night visits to local bars where tourists can make for easy victims.
- Use more common sense regarding relationships. Events are wonderful for networking. In fact, that’s a primary reason to attend. However, be cautious about sharing too much personal information or leaving a phone or a drink unattended. If the nature of business involves intellectual property or sensitive security information, guard it carefully. Occasionally, people are not who they say they are.
Stay tuned, meeting planners. Robert shared a great deal more valuable information with me, and I’ll be sharing it soon!