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Safety First

Can your business travelers defend themselves?

To find out how worried business travelers are about safety, listen to what their travel managers say. In a recent survey by the National Business Travel Association, more than two-thirds said they'll switch to teleconferencing if more isn't done to improve safety. Half said they'll rely more heavily on webcasts, and 40 percent will reduce out-of-town meetings.

Maybe that's why security seminars designed to allay those fears are a booming business. The evidence of growth is largely anecdotal--the industry isn't big enough to merit any surveys yet--but it's safe to say the number of classes has doubled since 9/11. What kinds of seminars are out there?

  • Classes for travel managers. If your business employs a travel manager, he or she can take a seminar teaching the key elements of travel preparedness, including the latest information on technology used to keep tabs on corporate travelers and updates on airport security. (For upcoming conventions, see cybercity.nbta.org.)
  • Self-defense classes for travelers. These courses cover travel preparation and keeping property safe. They tend to emphasize self-defense. Seminars and classes are offered by Flight Watch America Inc. (www.fwamerica.com) and safety expert Kevin Coffey's company, Corporate Travel Safety (www.corporatetravelsafety.com).
  • Safety strategy courses. Think of it as a "mind over body" approach. These classes lean toward managing your behavior--and that of others. Rather than confronting aggression, the idea is to prevent it from occurring. One class, taught by psychologist Terry Riley (www.appliedpsychology.com), will teach you "ways of behaving that differentiate victims from nonvictims."

Christopher Elliott is a writer and commentator and the editor of www.elliott.org.

Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.

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This article was originally published in the February 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Safety First.

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