Outdoor Team Building Activities At The Corporate Location Or Offsite

Our fine corporate picnic Sydney dining experiences let you choose the view and stay all day as you connect with great company and the pure joy of fresh food in Sydney’s beautiful harbourside playground. Warm temperatures mean it is time to get outside, something many of us cannot do during the workday. We sneak out during our lunch breaks only to regret having to return to the office when it is time for the remainder of our shift. Employers often schedule a company barbecue or picnic during the summer time, and including some outdoor team building activities in the event allows us to bond with co-workers while learning valuable lessons.

If management is unable to develop a team building program on its own, team building companies are there to provide assistance. Companies like XPEERience group offer a variety of outdoor team building activities that can be tailored to different locations. Whether the company holds the team building games in its parking lot or a nearby recreational field, the event should be excellent. The idea is to get the group into the fresh air and allow everyone to have fun by participating in activities that enhance communication and collaboration skills.

Outdoor team building activities are designed for people of all skill levels. Some are more strenuous than others so companies should include a combination of events in the itinerary. An outdoor tournament that includes soccer, lacrosse, football, and dodgeball will get the sporting types involved. Drumming events are designed for the more sedentary participants, though everyone should enjoy this process of creation, performance, and rhythmic synchronization.

Fans of television reality shows will love a team building program that mimics Survivor or The Amazing Race. In the Survivor-style game, teams compete against each other in six activities. The team who can endure the challenges and outwit its opponents will emerge victorious. This is easier said than done because surprise challenges await each team in its quest. In The Amazing Race-based outdoor team building activities, teams find clues and complete various physical challenges while navigating through an area to reach the finish line.

When workers really need a break, they may travel to engage in outdoor team building. Toronto is one place they can consider visiting. This city is beautiful during the summer and Polson Pier just happens to be the home of a 200,000 square foot facility designed for team building events.

Attendees will have an excellent view of Toronto and the waterfront and they can play team building games like volleyball, beach soccer, and the amusing human foosball. When it is time to go indoors at night, they do not have to travel far to enjoy a catered meal at the 50,000 square foot inside facility. During their free time, participants can explore everything that Toronto has to offer.

Outdoor team building activities held onsite, nearby, or in a distant location are designed to help a team be more cohesive in the work environment. Groups have loads of fun while they are playing team building games and at the same time, they develop important skills that translate to improved workplace productivity. If a company holds a summer event for staff, including corporate team building activities should prove beneficial.

Praise Simple Wedding Reception Menus Planning Ideas

Wedding is one of the important occasions of every person’s life and this is very expensive, if you will not do in proper way. There are several ways through which you can save your money. So we are giving some suggestion for simple wedding reception menus. If you’re looking for the best wedding reception venues Melbourne, your biggest challenge will be choosing just one.

On wedding reception, it is not easy to cut down the number of guest to be invited to your wedding reception because it would not be good if family member, friends, colleagues and neighbors are not invited to the party. Compromising on the ‘guests list’, might end up hurting your near and dear ones’ feelings. So try to make simple wedding reception planning so that no one feels bad.

Reception plan according day of time : Try to make reception menus planning according to the time of the day. In the morning time you should have to serve breakfast or tea. An afternoon reception would include lunch or cocktail hour. Because this is the best time of day where you can save lots of money but in the evening time, which does not have any specific course of food. It may include just about anything; appetizers, snacks, main meal, dessert and drinks. That’s why, receptions during evenings are usually more costly.
Afternoon Tea with Cheese and Biscuits!

You can server tea, biscuits, bread, variety of cheese and grapes to your guest on afternoon. You can also treat your guests with sandwiches and scones. If you have a garden or a backyard lawn, then no other location can be an ideal reception venue.

Choose Simple food : Choose perfect Indian meals which are not very expensive. You can invite your guests for lunch and serve them with two kinds of non-veg dishes, one vegetable dish, rice and naan bread. There are varieties of other Indian dishes which you can include in your reception menu.

Reception planning at a Hotel : If you are thinking reception planning at hotel then you can do some cost cutting out here as well? According to your budget, you can decide upon the kinds of meals to be catered to your guests. To start with, you can make your mind up on appetizers comprising bean salad, asparagus, fruit and cheese platters, stuffed mushrooms and sea food, and provide them on pretty trays.

As we know that on Indian wedding reception, mostly couple invest more money on food and drink. For some couples, who are at the initial stage of their new married life, the wedding reception menu becomes a significant concern for their budget.

9 Tips That Can Make Or Break Your Wedding Reception

Back in April of 2003, I had just finished setting up my DJ equipment for a wedding reception in a luxurious downtown Omaha hotel. Right on cue, the guests started to filter in, and I started the smooth jazz cocktail hour music. I headed over to the bar for a soda. As the bartender handed me the soft drink I ordered, he promptly said, “three dollars please.” Assuming he was joking, I walked away laughing as I thanked him. With a serious expression, he quickly informed me that he wasn’t kidding and that I’d better pay up on my newly acquired debt. It was then that I saw the sign on the bar. “Drinks $5.00 – Beer $4.00 – Soft Drinks $3.00.” Overhearing some of the guest conversations around the bar, I was apparently not the only one surprised by the drink charges. Big weddings often come from a cultural or family tradition, but these days more and more couples are getting married without so much reliance on their family and they also the one who find for a small wedding reception venues Melbourne.

When it comes time to offer tips and advice to my customers, I have to look back on my experiences as a Wedding DJ. In this article, we’ll cover some tips that are often overlooked or seen as no big deal by brides and grooms as they plan for their wedding receptions. These tips, however, WILL make the difference between happy guests and unhappy ones at your reception. In short, the following tips will increase the chances that your guests will stick around and have a great time at your reception.

I realize that many professionals offer a host of tips and suggestions in the wedding industry, and at times it’s hard to take it all in. Clearly, many things have to come together to ensure that everything on your wedding day is a success.

After talking and interviewing thousands of brides I noticed three distinct commonalities that most of them had when laying out their expectiations for their receptions. They wanted to:

1. Keep the events moving smoothly.

2. Keep the guests from leaving early.

3. Keep guests dancing and having fun.

As a DJ, I’ve had the unique advantage of being the first one to arrive at and the last to leave from hundreds of wedding receptions. For that reason, I feel comfortable and confident as I offer the advice you are about to read.

All in all I have always felt that if you want to have a successful reception, one of the single most important things you can do is to consider thing from your guests’ point of view.

TIP 1 – Never charge guests for drinks

When it comes to weddings, brides and grooms are often restricted by the limitations of their budget. There are certainly some shortcuts you can take to save a little money. But be careful! One area I strongly advise you not to skimp on is the bar. Making invited guests pay for their drinks is not a good idea, and it will stifle the atmosphere. The fact of the matter is that guests just don’t like paying for drinks. Plus, a free bar is often all it takes to keep the guests who are on the fence from leaving early.

I do not for a minute encourage binge drinking or any kind of abuse. I have just learned that the guests will loosen up, dance and have a better time when the bar is free (or, in wedding terms, “hosted”). The bottom line is that if you want guests to stick around and feel appreciated, an open bar is a must.

TIP 2 – Don’t start the reception too early

In the summer of 2007, I was the DJ for a reception that started at 2:30 in the afternoon. The event was held at a country club that had large windows all around the reception room and overlooked a beautiful golf course. For the reception, the bride and groom expected to have lots of dancing up until the 8:30 end time.

By 4:00, the dinner, toast and cake-cutting were over, and it was time to get the dancing underway. With an upbeat attitude and a desire to rock the party, I started the dance music. Despite my best efforts, I could hardly get anyone to dance and the reception was over by 5:30. Aside from the lack of dancing the afternoon went well and although I received lots of compliments the groom expressed to me his disappointment that there was very little dancing.

After hearing about the groom’s disappointment, I felt I had somehow let him down. But in reality, the circumstances were just not conducive to much dancing.

It is very difficult to get people in the mood for dancing at 4:00 in the afternoon in a sun-filled venue. Drinks don’t flow like they normally would, and people will generally leave early knowing they still have most of their evening ahead of them.

A good time to start a reception is around 6:00 P.M. in the evening. Any earlier and you risk losing the feeling of a night out for your guests.

Better yet, if you are not planning a church ceremony, you may want to consider having your ceremony at the reception venue. You won’t have to worry about transportation, and you’ll have the luxury of timing the ceremony closer to the reception.

TIP 3 – Avoid long time gaps between ceremony and reception

I recently arrived to set up my DJ gear for a reception that was supposed to start at 6:00 P.M. When I arrived at 4:30 to start setting up, there were already 50 people in the room just sitting there in silence. For a moment, I thought I was late, but I came to find out that most of the people sitting around were out-of-town guests who had been there since 3:00. The wedding had been at 1:00 at a local church, and after the ceremony these out-of-town guest had nowhere else to go, so they headed over to the reception venue. By the time the reception officially started at 6:00, these guests had been sitting around for three hours. Most of these guests just ate dinner and left.

You must consider the time gap between the end of your ceremony and the start of your reception. Ideally, your guests should go right from the ceremony to the reception. The bigger the gap in between, the harder it is on your guests.

I realize that those who have the ceremony in their church can’t just pick the time that bests suits them and must work around normal church services. Many churches will want you to have a Saturday ceremony between noon and 2:00 p.m. That’s fine, but remember that following such a ceremony directly with the reception will mean that the reception will start too early in the day. In order to compensate, some couples get married early in the afternoon and postpone the reception until later in the evening.

My advice is to have the ceremony as late in the afternoon (or early evening) as possible and schedule the reception to follow immediately. If an early ceremony is your only option, make sure your out-of-town guests realize the reception will be later, and provide them with ideas to keep them busy in between the ceremony and reception.

Ideally, you should host your ceremony at the same location as your reception. Many facilities can provide a nice area for you to have your ceremony. If it’s possible, you should look into it.

TIP 4 – Venue Lighting

There is a venue in my town that has a very basic lighting system. The lights are either all on or all off. There is no option to dim any of the lights, so all the lights are usually left on. This makes it very difficult to get people in the mood for dancing. After all, no one wants to be in the spotlight, and bright lights over the dance floor can hinder the ambiance. This tip is very straightforward: to create an atmosphere for dancing, the lights must be dimmed.

TIP 5 – Don’t stand near the exit

Keep in mind that the exit is almost always in the same place as the entrance. Once you and all the guests have arrived, try to avoid standing anywhere near the exit. Standing by the exit at any time during the reception gives off the impression that you are there to say goodbye to guests who are leaving. Before you realize it, you will have (instead of a receiving line) a departure line. To keep your party alive and moving, avoid standing near the exit. You never want to communicate to the guests that it’s time to leave unless it is!

TIP 6 – Have a fun grand entrance

Part of having a fun, dance-filled evening is starting everything off with a bang. There is no better way to begin a reception with excitement than to make a grand entrance. This doesn’t only get you in the mood for the party; it also gets the momentum rolling and puts your guests in the spirit of having fun.

As you and your wedding party arrive at the reception, have your DJ or Emcee line you and the wedding party up to be announced as you enter the reception venue. Pick a fun song to be played while everyone’s names are announced. As a DJ, I always get the audience clapping along to the beat of the music as you all enter.

It is all about setting the tone for the evening, and there is no better way to do that than to have a thrilling and exciting grand entrance with your bridal party.

TIP 7 – Avoid offensive music

From time to time, I work for brides and grooms who insist that I play music that is littered with colorful innuendos and language. This musical pursuit for your reception is highly ill-advised. The fact is that you may not know everyone on your guest list as intimately as you may think. Why take the chance of offending someone with vulgar music? I have seen guests walk out of a reception because of loud or offensive music.

TIP 8 – Dismiss tables when having a buffet-style dinner

From behind my DJ table, as I looked at the two hundred guests standing in line for the buffet at a reception, I couldn’t help but think that these people could have been sitting at their tables, enjoying conversation. Instead, they were weaving in and out of tables, waiting in a long line for food. I jokingly compare this scenario to a herd of cattle lining up for the trough.

This situation leads to awkward feelings for the guests who are already seated with their food as well as for those standing in line right next to them as they sit and eat. I have seen this happen hundreds of times throughout my career, and it is always uncomfortable.

You can choose one of two solutions for this problem. First, you could have a plated meal (or sit-down dinner) in which the staff serves the food directly to the guests while they are seated. Second, if you are having a buffet-style meal, you can have the tables released for dinner. Ask your DJ, host couple, or catering staff to dismiss each table one or two at a time. Personally, I fell this should be done by your DJ if you have one, because otherwise there is not much for the DJ to do during dinner. While releasing tables, your DJ can discover where the “fun” tables are and solicit music requests. This will allow the guests to feel like a part of the upcoming events.

TIP 9 – Use round tables

I recently DJed for a reception at a local country club in which the layout of the tables felt like I was the announcer for bingo night at the local legion hall. The room was full of 8 foot tables, and there were 6 rows of the them in the room. Each row has 5 tables lined up end to end. Guests going to and from their seats had to weave down long aisles of people, and there were times when aisles were blocked.

As crazy as it sounds, the type of tables you provide for your wedding guests will affect the social aspect of the evening. With the exception of the head table, you will want to avoid the standard 6′ or 8′ tables for the guest seating. Long, 6′ or 8′ tables are reminiscent of a mess hall or a lunch room setting and will detract from any kind of elegance. Furthermore, long tables are not conducive to conversation.

My advice is to always choose round tables for guest seating. This setup puts all the guests on an equal playing field for socializing and mingling. It also eliminates the theatre-like seating, in which you have to feel guilty about getting up and moving through a crowded isle.

In addition, round tables make it easier for the bride and groom to circulate among the guests. Finally, they provide the guests with better viewpoints of everything that is going on throughout the evening, helping to keep them engaged.

FINAL THOUGHTS

When it comes to planning your wedding reception, many factors can affect how engaged your guests are and whether they leave the reception early. I have seen the tips presented in this article get overlooked more times than I wish to count. I just hope these ideas have inspired you to consider your wedding reception from your guests’ point of view.

Hi, my name is Steve Bergeron.

The bottom line is: if you are going to listen to one person on how to keep guests at your wedding reception dancing, drinking, socializing, and enjoying themselves, you should listen to someone whose job it is to entertain at weddings.

With over twenty years of experience as a professional mobile DJ, I will share inside secrets to keeping your guests at the wedding reception happy and having a great time.

But don’t be confused!

My book is not all about the DJ you hire. This book also isn’t about cheesy DJ games and activities. In fact your DJ is only one portion of the many tips and secrets presented in this book.

Grab your copy today at:

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Steve_P_Bergeron/1168890

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7461473

Find Out If You Have Racked Up Any Frequent Flyer Miles Before Booking A Flight

When it comes to travel, no matter for pleasure or business, it’s important that you plan the trip with plenty of time. The following tips can assist you. Heli skiing Canada is the ultimate powder skiing experience where helicopters are used to escape from crowded lift lines and access an incredible wilderness

Create a packing list of what to pack.

If you’re traveling somewhere where you’ll need tickets, like amusement parks or a play, and print them beforehand. The small fee per ticket for such a service is well worth it when you consider the lines that you can avoid. If the park you are visiting has a timed entry, printed tickets can also be used to get around the admission line.

A motorcycle is a great transportation for short travels. It can be a bit of fun to travel by motorcycle.

Join travel forums and social websites centered around travel. Getting connected with others that travel is a great way to get prepared for your trip. This will put you make friends and share experiences to avoid making their mistakes or missing some great spots on your own trip.

Avoid rush hour traffic when setting out on your trip. If that is absolutely unavoidable, use that time to stop for a break. This can be the optimal time to go grab a while.

These sheets can be a flat surface to put cards on or color in coloring books.

Find out as soon as possible whether you require a visa to get into the country you are traveling to. It is a good idea to apply for a visa months before you have to travel, so it is a good idea to apply for your visa far in advance of your expected departure date.

You probably don’t need any extra insurance the salesman wants to push on you. Vehicle insurance policies often have basic third party coverage.

Pack a couple of travel candles if you plan on staying in hotels during your hotel stay. This will make the smell in your room more appealing. The smells can be relaxing, and it may help you sleep better.

Some places have great sounding in their walls.A reliable pair of earplugs can help block out the noise and let you a restful night’s sleep.

If you run into issues in your plans, you will feel frustrated. You may experience a delay in your flight or not get the car you reserved. The discussion is between you and an employee that likely did not make the agent in charge. At the beginning, you’ll care about solving this, but it is simple for one party to lose control. Try staying polite and stay calm throughout.You can get more accomplished this way so that your trip is less stressful.

Remember to bring your medications. It can be almost impossible to get a prescription filled in a foreign country when you need.

Tip generously as you can afford. Give the steward a nice tip when boarding the ship. The same members of the crew will probably serve you the whole trip, so the nicer you are to them, they are more likely to take excellent care of you.

If you are traveling for several hours at a stretch, make sure to get up at least once an hour to stretch your legs, even if you have to take an unneeded restroom break. Sitting for too long could cause health problems.

Be honest when you buy travel insurance. Tell the provider of any illness you are sick. You will be left with the bill.

If you are going somewhere truly remote, you might want to consider purchasing travel insurance that covers search and rescue.This kind of insurance could be a real lifesaver.

Invite friends along on your trip next time. Many destinations provide discounts for larger groups. You can save tons of cash on anything from dining to airfare simply by getting a group rates. Speak with the people close to you and see if they are interested.

When traveling, especially traveling for business, the temptations will be plenty. Rather than hitting the buffet, visit the hotel gym instead. This keeps you in shape and will definitely keep your energy levels up.

Be sure to carry valuables with you when a bus stops for maintenance or for a layover.

If you are bringing a pet, then make sure you find a hotel that accepts pets and find out if there’s any fees that go along with having a pet stay with you.

Research local laws and customs of the place your trip. You may have to face consequences for doing things that are viewed as offensive or illegal, even if you don’t know you are doing it. Always be respectful of the laws of the places you are traveling.

This would completely ruin your cruise entirely. You will end up confined to your cabin instead of enjoying yourself on deck. If you discover this is an issue prior to your trip, get a prescription for a sea sickness medication and take it with you.

Pick which one suits you get to the airport the easiest.

Female travels may find advantages in wearing a shawl rather than a coat. This will help keep you warm your feet and can be easy to carry. It can also cover up any valuables that are in your car.

If you are going on a trip, proper planning will make your travel more comfortable click here. You’re not going to be worried or anxious when you have properly planned, and you can instead rest and have confidence as you enjoy yourself.

Embracing a New Model for the Creation of Skincare Products

AlpStories Inc., based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a personalized organic skincare line for women. The company’s proprietary robotic technology enables customers to self-create skincare products to meet their own unique needs. All skincare products have the highest possible share of pure organic ingredients and are made-to-order, containing carefully selected bioactive botanicals from the Alps, one of the purest places on Earth. Best lip fillers Sydney is one of our most commonly requested procedures because adding volume and shape to the lips adds sensuality to the entire face.

AlpStories – Where Nature meets Future
Each customer creates her own unique and quality organic skin care products via a smart factory on the phone or through the website. There are millions of different variations depending on ingredients, fragrances, concentration, skin need… all individualized to a woman’s skin.

AlpStories – A brief history
The rich experience of the founding team led to the realization that there is a new trend of personalization of technology and skincare products. People differ in their views and needs in taking care of their bodies and relationship with their own skin health. And because we are all different, we also need a formula that meets the needs of our individual skin. At the same time, the founders researched ways to use robotic technology for efficient mass customization.

That sparked the idea of AlpStories in 2014, a new model for personalization of skin and hair care products while leveraging the power of pure organic ingredients from the Alps. The founders came up with a unique solution to these challenges and found a way to mix organic ingredients in a fast and efficient manner, while automating the process of ordering, filling and even personalized branding. A vital part in this process is the combination of the BeautyWizard, an online diagnostic tool (with a precise algorithm) that acts as a smart factory for the consumer, and a robot that manufactures personalized skincare products in real time.

The founding team of AlpStories is made up of skincare industry experts and includes Danijel Hubman and Oksana Lipitska in Slovenia, together with Paul Nunnari and Astrid Androsch in the United States.

All truly organic skincare products and the tool to customize facial creams are readily available via AlpStories.com, the BeautyWizard (and robotic system) allowing customers to create millions of variations will be launched in the US market in early November 2018.

“AlpStories and our personalized process for organic skincare brings the future to consumers in 2018. We are excited to offer this to the US market place through our online site www.alpstories.com. We believe that we will meet the consumers individual needs – Where Nature truly meets Future.”
– Paul Nunnari, President of AlpStories

Bloomex Supports Movember Australia with Donations at Checkout

Bloomex is proudly participating in the Movember Foundation’s annual Movember campaign, which challenges men to grow a moustache, men and women to get physically active and Move, or host a fundraising event – all of which spark conversations and raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health. In any country, charity donation tax deduction is always implemented.

To help provide funds for Movember Foundation programs and research into men’s health initiatives, Bloomex is offering a donation at checkout option. Customers will have the option to donate $5 at checkout for any order at Bloomex.com.au throughout the month of November.

The Movember Foundation is the only global charity focused solely on men’s health. Men and women can be the difference this Movember by donating or raising critical funds for men’s health, by signing up at Movember.com, and choosing to Grow, Move or Host.

Men start Movember 1st clean-shaven and grow only a moustache for the month, or men and women can commit to get active and take the Move Challenge or can host an event. Participants get friends, family, or colleagues to donate to their efforts to change the face of men’s health.

“Bloomex is delighted to help support the Movember cause,” says Sue McDonald, Director of PR and Corporate Partnership at Bloomex. “With the support of our customers and the innovative research made possible by Movember, we can help men live longer, healthier and happier lives.”

About Bloomex Australia

Bloomex Australia is one of the largest florists in Australia since launching in 2011. Orders are taken and processed through the company’s site at www.bloomex.com.au or by Live Chat, and then delivered to customers via local courier. In addition to flowers, Bloomex AU offers a variety of other gift items including plants, gift hampers, gourmet foods, sweets and treats. Bloomex is the largest florist in Canada in addition to serving the US and Australia.

About Movember Foundation
The Movember Foundation has one goal: to stop men dying too young. As the only global charity tackling men’s health issues year-round, the foundation supports the following causes: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. Since 2003, the support of more than 5 million men and women has funded over 1,200 innovative projects across more than 20 countries. To donate or learn more, please visit Movember.com.

Longboard Surfboard Ultimate Versatility in Longboard Surfboards

Avid and beginner surfers agree: the longboard surfboard provides the ultimate in versatility when it comes to performance. This classically designed surfboard style offers several features that accommodate different surfing techniques. By virtue of its name, this is the longest of all the surfboard styles with a wide platform. Long and wide makes it simple for new surfers to find their center of gravity and provides extra stability for seasoned surfers when performing advanced maneuvers. Which surfing app is stable at the moment? Anyone has an idea feel free to comment.

A longboard surfboard is available in different lengths, so be sure to choose the one that best suits your style and level of expertise. Beginner surfers may feel more comfortable on the shorter side of long. A ten foot board can be heavy and awkward to carry and hard to straddle if you’re a surfing newbie. Additionally, it can feel clumsy in the water. The more proficient you become, the longer you can get with your board. Experience riders can take surfing to the next level with the longer longboards and perform maneuvers like nose-riding and backwards take-offs while enjoying the added stability of the board’s length.

Consider the different board constructions, as well, when looking into a longboard surfboard. A surfing board made from fiberglass offers different qualities than those of epoxy construction. Just as longboards are classic, so is the fiberglass construction. Pros of this construction type are a smooth, even ride with a predictable response to wave patterns. Be careful, though, this type of board can get very heavy, so be sure you can support its weight under your arm as you carry it. Epoxy boards offer a lighter material that is more earth friendly than its fiberglass counterpart. They can be quick and snappy in a wave, too, giving you an awesome surfing experience. The downfall to the epoxy construction is that they decompose more quickly when exposed to direct sunlight and can feel stiff in the water.

So what happens when you choose a longboard surfboard that is made of the perfect combination of fiberglass and epoxy? You become the envy of new and veteran surfers. Your surfing longboard offers the best of both worlds when it is made of NexGen materials. Highly regarded as the perfect blend between construction materials, enjoy the lightweight feel of an epoxy without sacrificing the give and forgiveness found in a fiberglass board. Longboard surf your way to an expert level quickly with this crafty design!

Marketing Your Pilates Sessions

Are you Wasting your Time?

Picture the scene, you are in the supermarket, at the gym, at a social event. You are introduced to a person or they approach you with the opening line, ” I hear you teach Pilates, what’s it all about? Nutritionist Northern Beaches ensures that you will energize because eating consciously is like meditating.

It is easy to launch into a whole story about the history of Joseph Pilates, his internment, his flight from Germany to the US, meeting Clara his wife blahblahblah….

AUTOMATIC PILOT

Someone has pushed your button, if you are not careful you will either bore them rigid because they were only being polite, making small talk or you will completely waste your time.

So think about this. When we decide to do something, change our behavior in some way:

Stop smoking

Take up exercise

Start smoking (just kidding)!

We go through Six Stages of Change, this process was identified by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente in the late 1970s and early 80s at the University of Rhode Island, when they were studying how smokers give up their addiction.

SIX STAGES OF CHANGE

-Pre-contemplation. Ignorance is bliss, the person has no desire to change behavior.

-Contemplation. Acknowledgment of the need for change but not ready.

-Preparation. Getting ready

-Action. Changing behavior

-Maintenance. Maintaining behavior changes

-Relapse. Returns to old behavior, abandons the changes

Let’s get back to the party. You have just met someone who throws out the comment “what’s this Pilates all about?” Depending which STAGE OF CHANGE they are at will determine your response.

How can you tell?

A few simple questions will quickly let you know how far long the process they are, or if they are just filling in time waiting for more interesting company. Your first response to the “what’s it all about” should be short and sweet. Practice a concise reply, e.g. “its a body conditioning system that will improve posture, tone and shape”. Sometimes that is the end of the conversation about Pilates and they change the subject. Pre-contemplation.

If they continue with questions, ask them for their contact details so you can send information to them. This causes a couple reactions:

They tell you they are looking at various options Contemplation

They are happy to give you details. Preparation

Avoid getting into detailed explanations in a nonprofessional atmosphere. They won’t remember anyway. If they are happy to give you contact details, suggest you make an appointment for a consultation. They may not be ready to commit to an appointment.

Preparation

Make sure you send the information as promised. Always carry your business card and or schedule so you can quickly hand it to them even if they don’t want to go further than a basic inquiry. This way they may contact you when they are ready.

Always follow up. Whether you post out hard copy information or send it by e mail when you think they should have received the information contact them to confirm receipt. Avoid trying to move them forward in the process at this point. Your contact is purely to confirm they have received the information and to answer any questions.

Finish this conversation/email by asking their permission to contact them again. This will stop the feeling of the cold call and give them the opportunity to stop you contacting them. They will feel in control.

The second follow up should come 3-5 days later. This time the enquiry is about any further questions and some kind of incentive to make an appointment either to attend a class or consultation for a personal training session.

The third and final follow up at this stage, assuming they have not made any commitment to classes or personal training is to acknowledge they are obviously very busy, that you will not contact them again other than to update them on new events, classes and offers. This will sometimes move them towards the Action stage. If it doesn’t then you can keep them on the database with their permission to keep in touch.

Of course you want the process to be smooth so they move into the Action and Maintenance stages. During this time we are developing a stronger relationship with them, it is in our ongoing business interest to keep this relationship alive, creative and happy.

It is a natural cycle of life that the Relapse stage will come along at some point. Maybe they just break routine by going on holiday, family of work commitments change and the process starts all again.

This time however the initial stages will move along more quickly as it is a familiar place for them and the decision making process will be easier. Of course we want them to return to us so the relationship we have built must be maintained, even if they are in their Relapse phase, keep in touch, so that when the Action stage comes around again they know where to go and that they will be welcomed back with a smile.

These Six Stages of Change relate to any behavior changes and the sooner you get to grips with recognising the various ways to interpret your potential new clients reaction and connect to one of the six stages, the sooner you will be able to join the conversation.

Nuala Coombs – thepilatesconsultant.com

About Nuala Coombs. With over 25 years experience in the fitness and Pilates industry Nuala has taught hundreds of students worldwide to teach Pilates. She is the author of Golf and Pilates published in 2005 as well as an international presenter and teacher trainer. Based in the south of France along with teacher training and workshops she offers career guidance to teachers in training and qualified Pilates teachers at a crossroads in their working life. Nuala also offer Pilates Retreats for Pilates enthusiasts. Contact her to sign up for her free monthly Newsletter at http://www.thepilatesconsultant.com.

Email: [email protected]

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It Makes Sense To Choose Us As The Venue For Your Next Charity Event

It Makes Sense To Choose Us As The Venue For Your Next Charity Event

When you are looking at your options for Charity Venue Hire In The Uk with an interest in making your latest event your most successful yet, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by just one or two great things about a specific venue, which may mean you fail to consider the bigger picture. Exuding a richness of grandeur, style and sophistication, Baroq is one of small function rooms Melbourne the most prestigious event spaces and is setting a new benchmark for function venues.

What Do We Mean By “the Bigger Picture”?

Well, you may, for example, be wooed by a certain venue’s history and physical presence, and there’s no doubt that our own charity event venue, Shendish Manor, has no shortage of both.

This former country house’s Victorian splendour gives just a hint of its rich past, which also includes its ownership by the famous Longman family of publishers and use as a British Army camp during World War I. But on the inside, it’s no less formidable, not least thanks to such spaces as the Apsley Suite and the elegant and historic Manor House, with its Longman suite.

Indeed, this brings us nicely onto the subject of practicality when you are considering charity venue hire in the UK. Shendish Manor has become one of the most popular and respected wedding and meeting venues in Hertfordshire, in large part due to the large capacity of our suites and our many spacious and comfortable bedrooms for attendees who need to stay overnight.

The given venue’s location and transport connections also count for a great deal if you want as many people as possible to be able to attend your charity event. Despite its green and rural setting, Shendish Manor is just 30 minutes away by train from central London, while it takes less than 10 minutes to drive here from such other nearby towns as Watford and Hemel Hempstead.

Anyone who does stay overnight with us in one of our well-appointed rooms can even relax by teeing off on our venue’s very own acclaimed 5660 yard, par 70 golf course, designed to USPGA specifications.

Make Us Your Preferred Option For Charity Venue Hire In The Uk

Truly, if you are on the lookout for the ‘complete’ charity event venue, you would struggle to find a better option anywhere in the UK than Shendish Manor – if we dare say so ourselves!

Contact us now about how you can book one or more of our spaces for your charity’s next big event, and we will discuss with you all of the other measures that our team can take to help make it the same kind of hugely successful undertaking as the rest of the special events we hold. May we wish you the very best of luck!

Planning For Interactive Media Instruction

Introduction

Many organizations today are seeking to accomplish several main goals with regard to e-learning. The number one goal of e-learning (also referred to as distributed learning) is knowledge management, where both explicit and implicit types of knowledge can be archived and exploited for organizational use. For most organizations, the goal of developing interactive media instruction (IMI) relates to this overarching goal, by creating instructional or training materials that can be used to help workers to perform better on the job. Instructional systems design (ISD) theory promotes best practices in terms of both development and implementation of e-learning initiatives. In a very real way, the ISD process provides a road map for creation of training products, helping courseware developers to tailor their product to the knowledge and training needs of learners. Concept Artist tend to work in entertainment fields, where the creation of non-existent entities is in constant demand.

One main criticism of IMI has been a charge that much of the courseware built for asynchronous learning platforms is plagued by low affective and social stimulation as well as by a purely presentational characteristic (Hines & Pearl, 2004). Another criticism of instructional design practices within e-learning communities is that such courses only give the learner information in the form of page turners. This sentiment is often summarized by the phrase “information is not instruction” to warn of the perils of expecting knowledge to come solely from exposure to information.

A central challenge to instructional designers is to create learning events using interactive media platforms and learning objects which inspire critical thinking, application of concepts, and synthesis of ideas. For example, the use of Performance/Knowledge pairs in the design of courseware serves this objective. Under this paradigm, the instructional designer identifies and concept or principle (knowledge) which is reinforced by providing the learner with opportunities to apply that concept or knowledge piece in problem solving.

The Instructional Design Process

The Criterion Referenced Instruction (CRI) framework developed by Robert Mager is a comprehensive set of methods for the design and delivery of training programs. CRI critical aspects include: (1) goal/task analysis — to identify what needs to be learned, (2) performance objectives — exact specification of the outcomes to be accomplished and how they are to be evaluated (the criterion), (3) criterion referenced testing — evaluation of learning in terms of the knowledge/skills specified in the objectives, (4) development of learning modules tied to specific objectives (Kearsley, 2006).

Applying Principles of CRI:

1. Instructional objectives are derived from job performance and reflect the competencies (knowledge/skills) that need to be learned.

2. Students study and practice only those skills not yet mastered to the level required by the objectives.

3. Students are given opportunities to practice each objective and obtain feedback about the quality of their performance.

4. Students should receive repeated practice in skills that are used often or are difficult to learn.

5. Students are free to sequence their own instruction within the constraints imposed by the pre-requisites and progress is controlled by their own competence (mastery of objectives).

Using the ADDIE Process

The ADDIE process is another heuristic procedure which can be used to great benefit when planning events associated with building content for an IMI course.

Beginning with the analysis phase, a complete instructional design plan should include answers to the following questions.

1. What is the instructional problem and are there any specific goals for the instructional program itself?

2. What are learner characteristics and how will that influence your instructional decisions?

3. Have you identified both the subject content and task components that relate to the instructional goals and objectives?

During the design phase, it follows that the next logical step is to address issues related to the makeup of the course content, which encompasses the main objectives for the instruction. Specifically, once the objectives have been identified, it is time to develop the proper sequence for the instruction. The following questions can be reviewed.

1. How will the content be sequenced within each instructional unit?

2. What instructional strategies will be used so that learners can master the objectives?

3. What resources will be made available to the student?

4. How will learning be assessed?

Design of IMI Courseware

The actual design of interactive courseware requires a bit of artistry as well as an understanding of pedagogy. There are a few basic design principles of interface design that more bits of wisdom, and aesthetic judgments about what is pleasing to the eye than rules or guidelines. In order to create quality instructional experiences for the learner, the interface designer’s role involves creating navigational ease through effective use of windows, backgrounds, icons, and control panels (Vaughn, 2004).

In terms of best practices for exploiting technology and multimedia for teaching, indications are that e-learning can be best facilitated through well-designed courses using several types of instructional media with differing characteristics (e.g., synchronous vs. asynchronous, high-bandwidth vs. low bandwidth, contextualized vs. decontextualized). The interface design chosen should be consistent and aesthetically pleasing to orient the learner and gain their attention.

The use of storyboards as a planning tool allows design teams to describe a project in detail, by using sketches and words to define screen images, sound, navigation choices, colors, fonts, and text content (Vaughn, 2004). The advantage of creating storyboards-either more or less detailed-is that they allow you to see what design elements will be required before beginning work. For example, based on the design of the storyboard, a design team may choose to task different project implementation steps to specialists (for e.g., graphic designers or multimedia specialists) who can lend their expert talents and capabilities to the overall project management plan. A simple way to get started with storyboards is by using a PowerPoint program to capture the main concepts for a given presentation or lesson.

Page Layout

Creating a basic page layout should be planned as follows. First, organize the information on the web page clearly and in a logical flow. Place adequate amount of information on a screen. Use shorter lines of text if the web page is intended to be read on-screen. Place the important information at the top of the web page. Appropriately use white space to increase the page’s visual appeal. And finally, choose the right screen size to design the course web pages.

Navigation buttons are common elements of navigation (“back”, “next,” “forward”) so that the learner can move through the material. Buttons or navigation arrows should be placed at the edge of the screen. The reason for this is mostly ergonomic: It is easier to move the mouse to a target at the edge of the screen than to one somewhere in the middle. At the edge of the screen, the boundary of the display acts as a visual, or actual, bumper to quick motions.

Also, primary information-regardless of ergonomics-should be located near the optical center, with secondary information at the edges: A reader’s eyes are most likely to follow a path from the center outward. Finally, for psychological continuity, orienting information should be placed at the top or the bottom of the screen, depending on whether it relates to the preceding or following screen, respectively.

Use of Color

Color standards are paramount to maintaining consistency throughout a web site. For page backgrounds, a neutral color, such as white, should be used because it provides the greatest contrast with most colors, which contributes to the property of readability, supports a variety of color text and icons, and bears greater similarity to traditional print pages, which are the basis for most graphic design and communications conventions. It is important to note that some pastel colors and combinations of colors are unreadable to those with color blindness and other visual disorders. Acceptable alternatives to a neutral background are the official university colors.

Using Graphics

There is a qualitative difference between the processing of information in the left brain (which generally considers text) and the right brain (which generally considers images). New material is processed and understood most effectively when it is given a number of different representations. Most authoring systems allow the user to create multimedia objects such as text, buttons, vector-drawn objects, and bitmaps. Graphics can be used to add mental dimensions to:

o Descriptions of real-world or imaginary settings.
o Descriptions of complex relationships.
o Numerical data.
o Requests for reader interaction.

Use of Sound and Video

Suffice to say, the fact that we live in a digitized world suggests that as students become more adept consumers of digital media, their expectations in the classroom increasingly involve digital media as an instructional delivery mode. Audio resolution (8, 16 or 32 bit) will determine the accuracy with which a sound can be digitized. However, it is proper to suggest that although streaming technologies offer a lot of promise for the delivery of audio and video through the Internet, audio and video should be used sparingly in web based training, due to issues of bandwidth and user access. An important side note is that when video is a major element of an interactive design, a high level of detail is necessary in the storyboard to ensure that the video producer has sufficient information to get an accurate video shot. However, if you incorporate streaming technologies, the users may need to download and install plug-ins. Because of the frustrations that plug-ins can cause, it is important to consider all alternatives prior to using them. Not only are there many versions of plug-ins, but they are constantly updated, and can be tricky to install and therefore it is better to use media elements only when they are essential to the instruction (Baron, 1998).

Using Links

When hyperlinks are used, they should serve as a way for the learner to access additional course material via the web. Some more specific examples of reasons for the creation of a link are as follows:

o provide additional information and examples so that learners can probe the topic in greater depth
o cross-reference items
o instruct learners to carry out a task (for example, a form of help)
o provide a help system
o provide a glossary
o provide footnotes
o provide contents lists
o provide illustrations to support text
o provide text to support an illustration
o connect the different aspects of a topic (similar to an index).

Developing the instruction

In order to prevent excessive cognitive load, instruction should progress from simple to complex, allowing learners to start out by working on tasks that represent relatively simple versions of the whole task. Learning tasks that are poorly designed or that involve the complex integration of multiple ideas, skills, or attributes, results in increased cognitive load and decreased learning (Mishra, 2004). An additional consideration in the development of IMI instruction relates to the use of what are referred to as authentic tasks. Learning activities should engage the learner in authentic tasks, which enable students to immerse themselves in the culture of the academic domain, much like an apprentice (Mishra, 2004).

Options for Evaluation of Courseware

Instructional designers have a several models from which to choose when looking at how to evaluate the overall effectiveness of a newly developed training product. At this point, I’ll mention two of these models; they are Kilpatrick’s 4 Levels of Evaluation and Dick and Carey Model. The Dick and Carey model of evaluation is based on three means of formative evaluation: one-to-one, small-group, and field evaluation. Kirkpatrick’s 4-level evaluation model, developed in 1976, is another model used by Instructional Designers in the domain of evaluation. The four levels of evaluation are: reactions, learning, transfer and results. Evaluation at level 1 – reactions, measures how participants react to training. It attempts to answer questions regarding the perceptions of the participants. Did they like it? Was the material relevant? Overall evaluation attempts to assess the learner satisfaction. In level 2 evaluation – learning, evaluation assesses the amount of learning that has occurred in a training program. Tests and pretests are used at this level in the evaluation process. Level 3 evaluation – transfer, measures the transfer that has occurred in learner’s behavior due to training. A question a designer may ask at this level is: are the newly acquired skills, knowledge, or attitude being used in the learner’s everyday environment? If yes, transfer has occurred. Level 4 evaluation – results, measures the success of the training from a managerial level in terms of increased production, improved quality, decreased costs, and return on investment (Lipka, n.d.)

The evaluation process for the instructional designer involves looking at the overall quality of the product and its appropriateness for meeting the client’s needs. With regard to this phase of the ADDIE process, the evaluation phase is driven by a search for the answers to the question: Have we solved the problem? In this regard the instructional designer may want to develop surveys which can be completed by persons who have completed the instruction. Additionally, interviews-essentially ethnographic research-can be conducted with course participants to determine levels of user satisfaction and overall effectiveness of the instruction. What is the impact? What needs to change? Finally, a piece of courseware might be utility tested and evaluated by a direct comparison of its performance against that of some reasonable alternative, such as an older training product or the traditional teaching it replaces.

Summary

Preparing for the design and development of interactive media is by no means as simple as described in this short paper. Rather, designing interactive media and other e-learning courseware is an iterative process, which typically involves a team effort when properly done. A myriad of skills and expertise should normally be brought into the process in order to ensure that an IMI product is one which achieves its educational or training aims. Design, development, layout, and testing of the courseware require forethought, creativity, and a clearly defined set of objectives. When properly done however, the end result is a training apparatus, properly designed for its target audience, and that enhances both individual and group performance on the job. Creating reusable learning products and implementing knowledge management strategies that work are the result of smart planning and quality management of courseware development and implementation within learning organizations.

References

Angelo, T.A., & Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Baron, A. (1998). Designing web-based training. British Journal of Technology, 29 (4), pp. 355- 370.

Hines, R. & Pearl, C. (2004). Increasing interaction in web-based instruction: Using synchronous chats and asynchronous discussions. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 23 (2), pp. 33-36.

Henke, M. & Latendresse, F. (2005). Store and forward: A collaborative approach for developing interactive digital media (IDM) for classroom instruction. Technology Teacher, 64 (8), pp. 6-8.

Kearsley, G. (2006). Explorations in learning and instruction: The theory into practice database.

Lipka, H. (n.d.). Helen P. Lipka electronic portfolio. Watson School of Education, University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Mishra, S. (2004). Interactive multimedia in education and training. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.

Vaughn, T. (2004). Multimedia: Making it work. McGraw Hill.

Liston W. Bailey is an educator and training specialist living in Virginia.

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