Getting a Head Start


Global cultural management expert Chris Smit says it’s important to make an effort to understand what’s currently happening in your host country before you arrive. He’s found an easy way to do while also making his travel time productive.

Innovation and technology has made travel less arduous and more productive, so when I travel for business there are certain items I insist on taking with me. I’m never without my wireless ear pods, which allow me the freedom to listen to books, music, and podcasts without the hassle of wires. This is important because I listen to a lot while I’m travelling. I especially like the audio version of the Economist magazine — it’s a great way to stay up-to-speed on business developments and discussions. I find that listening to articles on the destination I’m traveling to means I’m on-topic when I arrive, which is a good way to keep conversations flowing and show an interest in your host’s country.

I broadcast my own podcast — Culture Matters — that helps build cultural competence, and travel is an important way to ensure the knowledge I share remains current. Having technology with me enables me to record and create while new experiences are fresh in my mind.

Technology’s influence on the modern traveller is not limited to digital devices, I also find the cleverly engineered folding bike is an efficient way to get around a city and I always take mine with me when traveling by train.

Finally, noise-cancelling earphones are a must when you’re trying to catch a few hours sleep during a long-haul flight.

I’m an Apple addict. I always have my iPad and Mac with me on travel as it has my whole music and book library on it — and I can access Netflix on them.

Chris Smit is managing partner of Culture Matters, a cultural awareness training organization.

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