Month: June 2018

Renting Event Spaces for Your Wedding and Reception

After getting engaged, booking a location for the wedding and subsequent reception is one of the first things to check off your pre-wedding checklist. Planners recommend booking at least 12 months in advance of your big day if at all possible. The venue that you settle on will ultimately determine many of the other aspects of your wedding, such as whether you need to hire a caterer and what kind of musical entertainment will be appropriate. Here are a few things to consider when seeking the perfect areas for your reception.

The Date

The day you plan to marry your beloved can affect your choices of event spaces. Some spots are only available during the warmer months, making winter wonderland weddings problematic or even impossible. And some spots are popular destinations for special events, so it might be difficult to book it without months’ or, in some cases, years’ notice. This is part of the reason that it is crucial to book as far in advance as possible.

The Space

If you are planning on using the same area for both your wedding and your reception, then you will want to opt for a destination that has either multiple buildings or rooms. This will allow staff to have separate setups for the ceremony and the after party. Even if this is not the case, having a setting with multiple rooms will allow for a variety of things to be happening simultaneously. Some brides plan multiple forms of entertainment, such as different types of music or even games, to keep even the most fickle of guests occupied.

The Size

Although everyone wants their guests to be cozy, it’s a good idea to book event spaces a little bit bigger than you think you’ll need. This will give you and your loved ones plenty of room to dance the night away. Extra large event spaces also afford room for any unexpected plus ones that your guests might bring.

The Catering

The food is an important aspect of any ceremony. Although traditional ceremonies often serve multiple-course meals, many modern brides and grooms are opting to have self-service dinners or buffets. Depending on your event spaces, you might not have to choose. Many venues have begun offering catering services, with wait staff included in the cost of rental. Some even provide full bars and bartenders. Booking with these venues is a great way to relieve the stress of hiring the necessary people to cook and serve your guests.

The Parking

Parking might not seem very important when compared to the food or the size of a venue, but parking can have a major effect on how the rest of the wedding proceeds. Ample parking close to the location that allows guests to quickly walk inside will set a positive tone for the night.

Speaking with a manager and visiting event spaces are the quickest ways to have these questions answered. The staff will also be able to help you with the process of booking. And once you have a venue booked, the only thing you have to worry about is having a fun and exciting night.

How to Overcome Shyness Around Men

Is shyness getting the best of you when you are around men? If yes, then you are probably having problems in meeting and dating men as your shyness around men keeps interfering with your social and dating life.

Shy women are often inexperienced in dating men because their shyness cost them to end up dateless and loveless. A shy woman may be interested in a guy and wants to make a good impression but her shyness prevents her to do so. When a guy approached and talked to her, she’ll be terrified and can’t express herself that the guy eventually thinks she’s not interested. She may want to date a certain guy but end up saying “No” when asked due to nervousness being alone with a guy on a date.

In general, women are perceived as more socially competent so shy women can be mistaken as aloof, snobby, rude, anti-social, unfriendly or simply uninterested if they are unable to interact with the opposite sex in social situations. Men have no idea what these shy women are going through and didn’t consider the idea that they are just shy and their nerves are getting the best of them that they cannot interact with men. The worst thing is that shy women continue to suffer from this problem even until their 40s, the age when they should be enjoying a stable relationship or starting a family. Shyness can take away one’s potential for a successful dating life. If you are one of these women, you have to know how to overcome shyness around men to boost your dating life. Here are some tips that can be very helpful.

Acknowledge that your shyness is a problem. It can be hard to overcome shyness if you will just accept that you are shy and that’s who you are but didn’t realize that it is a problem. It is important to recognize that your shyness around men is a problem that inhibits you from opportunities to meet the man who could be the one for you. If you know that shyness is a problem then you know that you have to do something to overcome it to have a successful dating life.

Start taking small steps to get out of your comfort zone. Shy women tend to stay in their comfort zone; that is to stay home and avoid social situations or interaction with people especially the opposite sex. If you want to overcome shyness around men, you have to start taking small steps to go out of your comfort zone. Taking the first step is the hardest part if you want to change or do something so you have to make the decision to start taking small steps. Force yourself to say “Hi” to your neighbors and people you know when you see them around. Go out with your friends, make new friends and be more sociable. Talk to people more until you become more confident and comfortable around people including men of course. By taking small steps and getting out of your comfort zone, you’ll become more socially competent and you will eventually overcome shyness around men.

Know that men are humans too. If you are shy because you are scared to be rejected and ridiculed by the opposite sex, it is important to realize that like you, men are also humans. Men can be as shy as you are, they don’t bite and they are not usually mean. Although not all men are nice but men in general are nicer to the opposite sex. Women can be more mean and judgmental towards another woman compared to men.

Take care of yourself and improve your physical appearance. The way you look can affect the way you feel. Shyness can be a result of insecurity with your looks or from being unhappy with what you see in the mirror. Exert efforts to look your best. Know how to dress appropriately, choose a hairstyle that fits you, lose those unwanted pounds and stay fit, practice good hygiene and always appear fresh. But this is not about changing who you are or being someone you are not but this is about being the best version of yourself. If you like how you look, you’ll be more confident and motivated to overcome your shyness around men.

View yourself in a positive way. Turn off those negative vibes and get rid of those negative opinions you have for yourself. Shyness towards the opposite sex may trigger if you always think that you will not meet someone because you are too shy, too boring or not good-looking enough. The thing is, every woman has her own beauty. Love yourself more, get rid of those negative thoughts and see yourself in a different light. If you feel good about yourself, you’ll be more confident around men.

Find something you are good at and be a more interesting person. Knowing that you are good at something can boost your confidence. If you have talent in cooking, arts or musically inclined, these things can help you gain more self-confidence and become more interesting because you have a lot to share. Even if there is nothing you are good at right now, there must be something you are passionate about and want to learn so pursue that passion and learn something new. It is easier to overcome shyness around men if you know you are an interesting person to be with.

Be patient and keep trying to overcome shyness around men. You cannot change overnight. Beating shyness is a difficult and long process so be patient and persevere. Sometimes it may feel like you’ve made one step forward but two steps backward. Do not be discouraged, keep trying and keep going. You might fail, stumble and get hurt sometimes but if you keep trying you’ll eventually succeed and overcome shyness around men.

Surmounting the Challenges of Long Distance Relationships

Couples are finding more reasons to seek long distance relationship advice because of the seemingly insurmountable challenges of maintaining this kind of relationship. It is great to have someone to call your sweetheart, but having a love life is not that easy when the person you are in a relationship with is thousands of miles away. No one really intends to be in a long distance relationship just because of the innate difficulties of such a setup. Nevertheless, sometimes love just blooms between people who do not live in the same city, or in some cases not even the same country. It happens a lot these days since the Internet and telecommunications systems allow for more intimate long distance communications. In other instances, people who spend a lot of time together and eventually fall in love end up leaving to stay in other places for extended periods due to work or other circumstance.

Difficult but not impossible to maintain

Being physically apart hurts. This is especially true if you want nothing more than to be near the person that you love all the time. Relationships are plagued by doubts and fears, but these worries are more pronounced in couples who are far apart most of the time.

The most relevant question is whether the couple has what it takes to survive the situation. At first, the excitement of the first few days of being in love drowns everything else. Eventually, reality catches up with them and sometimes reality bites. However, this kind of relationship only fails if the people involved takes on a defeatist attitude. Though difficult, long distance couples succeed in forging a stronger bond despite the distance. It is not an impossible task, but it takes a clear understanding of what it takes to maintain a long distance relationship for the set up to work.

Thoughts to stay away from

The downfall of a long-distance relationship or any relationship for that matter is doubt. It is natural to feel doubt, especially in the long lulls between the times that you spend together as a couple. It is also quite natural to ask for reassurance. However, if doubt dominates the relationship, then it is doomed to fail for sure. Moreover, self-defeating thoughts and frustrations do not help at all. Giving into hopelessness only makes it more difficult to cope with the absence of the loved one. Instead, the couple must focus on finding new ways to express their love and reciprocate their mutual admiration. Being positive and optimistic is the best approach to take in order to avoid heartache and pain.

Prioritize the one you love

Relocating to another city and being away from the person you love means juggling schedules and dealing with difference in time zone, in some situations. Making time is given a new context, but if the person you are in a relationship with is a priority, then it should not be that complicated. If setting aside time for this person is at the top of your list, and then there is no chance for the relationship to fail, despite everyone else predicting it will not last.

Core Values and Ground Rules For Conflict Resolution

Why does conflict happen in teams?

By working in teams we are able to bring together combined resources, skills and knowledge that is beyond the scope of any single individual. Working in teams is a double-edged sword; the very advantage sometimes becomes dysfunctional when teams cannot work together due to interpersonal conflicts.

There are many reasons why conflict emerges in teams. This could be due to the constant jostling for power, differences in values, and the positions that each individual in the team takes, based on perceptions of personal advantages. Recently I was facilitating a team about their values. One of the members was stuck to his position that ‘Teamwork’ should be the key value. While defending his position he forgot that ‘teamwork’ was not really happening in the group, where he was not permitting other members to air their views on teamwork. Conflict is aggravated in times of major changes, distribution of rewards, review of performance and external threats like major socio-eco-political downturns. Conflict in teams is inevitable. Teams require sound management and facilitation skills to resolve them. Handled well, conflicts can lead to learning, improved problem solving and better all round performance, both individually and collectively. This is an essay on using the Skilled Facilitator core values and ground rules for conflict resolution.

Resolving Conflict within Teams: Core Values;

1. Get the facts: One of the core values of any team needs to be valid information. Information to be valid, must be verified and not just rumors. They also need to be shared and everyone needs to be on the same page regarding the information. In conflict situation the entire facts of the situation needs to be on the table, without any information being kept away from any members.

2. Free and informed choice: The second core value, once the information is valid, the members and stakeholders need to have a free and informed choice about their participation. It is indeed very difficult to hand out solutions to members who do not have a free and informed choice to participate.

3. Internal commitment: The third core value follows from the first two. Only when all members to the conflict have valid information and free and informed choice will they agree to abide by the solutions and participate whole-heartedly to make the entire process a success.

4. Non-judgmentally: this is the key core value. Any concerns or doubts regarding hidden agendas must be clarified at the beginning and members accepted for their face value without any antecedent conditioning.

Once the core values are set, the team needs to have some ground rules for the actual conduct of the meeting and relationships. In the Skilled facilitator approach there are nine ground rules that help in adequately resolving conflicts, provided they are followed conjointly with the core values.

Ground Rules for Conflict Resolution

1. Check assumptions and inferences. We often make a quick personality definition of all people that we come in contact with. Based on their ethnicity, language, geographical location and other cultural background, we make stereotypes of people. We then set out to interact based on those assumptions. Sometimes, our most recent experience with an individual clouds our next interaction. If we really wish to resolve conflicts we need to check all assumptions and inferences before we set out to tackle the real issues that resulted in the conflict.

2. Share all relevant information: This ground rule along with the core values, sets the agenda for the exercise of conflict resolution. Any information withheld at the beginning will act as a surprise later and create a wall of defense around those who are not aware of the information. It will raise suspicion as to agenda and may even backfire with the situation becoming worse than it started with.

3. Use specific examples and agree on what important words mean. Words mean different things to different people and in different contexts. Not explaining the exact meaning of words with specific examples will also violate rule one, as it may be wrongly assumed that everyone is on the same page, which may not be the reality.

4. Explaining reasoning and intent: This is a part of being open. Openness may result in some vulnerability. However, vulnerability leads to trust and therefore openness is a very important aspect of conflict resolution. This is like putting all your cards on the table. In all matters it works to clearly explain why we are doing what we are doing, and what do we expect as an outcome – what is our intention.

5. Focus on interests not positions: What is the difference between position and interest? A position is an end value – why do we want what we want? An interest on the other hand is a means value – how do we go about getting what we want. A position is a destination while an interest is taking different modes of transportation or different routes to reach the same destination. A position is a solution that people want. An interest is a desire and concern they have. When we focus on the interests we are able to deal with the relationship issues of the people and once the relationship is sorted, the solution is not the problem. Often we are agreed on the solutions, but continue to have conflict because our concerns are not addressed.

6. Combine advocacy with inquiry: To do this we first state what we want done and why (advocacy)? Then we check for others’ opinions on what we are advocating (inquiry). We do one more step of inquiry by asking other people for their alternative opinion and the reason thereof. This form of expression of opinion validates the core values to receive internal commitment through ownership.

7. Jointly design steps and define ways to test disagreement: By step six the ground would have been cleared for action to resolve the conflict and get ahead with an action plan for the task at hand as well as for future tasks. A jointly designed plan also helps to get internal commitment through ownership. By testing disagreements as and when they occur, the situation is brought under control and not allowed to simmer until things get out of hand.

8. Discuss indiscussable issues: This is one of the most important, but rarely used tool for conflict resolution. We normally feel that discussing indiscussbles will lead to further conflict and sweep the issues under the carpet -“what ain’t broken needn’t be fixed”. However, these issues never go away and return time and again to haunt us. Within the safety of the core values and the ground rules, discussing indiscussables acts as a safety valve to release pressure from team members by allowing them to freely express views without judgment. Under supervision of a skilled facilitator this can act wonders for team building as it clears airs of suspicion. It also keeps the team away from cooler talks and corridor whispers by giving an open forum for expression.

9. Use a decision making tool that generates a given level of commitment: Commitment is the key to teamwork. If decisions are imposed from above, there is very little ownership and therefore little internal commitment. This does not mean that all decisions have to be made after consultation with all group members. However, if the ground rules are followed in a practical manner and the group members are aware that core values will not be violated, there is scope for commitment without holding meetings of all members for all activities at all times. Imposition of certain tasks in these circumstances will be able to get full commitment as trust levels are at their peak.

While the above are like a charter for teams and followed closely will lead to effective functioning, the teams may need a skilled facilitator to facilitate initial meetings until the charter gets ingrained into the system and becomes a habit.

How to Choose a Gift for a Newly Married Couple

When a friend of yours gets married, it is customary for you to make a wedding gift. However, deciding on what to give is not an easy task. The simple reason is that what you give has to be of some use to the recipient couple. Another reason is that the item you give should not be something that they already have. Also, you need to make it a point to give something that another friend may not give.

In order to fulfill all the requirements of a good wedding gift you need to think out of the box. Try to think of some novel item to give. If your fiend already has built his own house or has bought a house, one thing you could give is a sapling for a large plant. He could plant it in his garden in memory of his wedding. He will remember you every time he will talk about the particular tree. What a nice gift?

The best way to buy a good plant sapling is to visit a place where they sell plant saplings. The salesman could give you some advice on what to choose. Also, if you have any architect friends, you could contact one of them to get some valuable advice on the plant to choose. These plant saplings are not expensive but the value they carry is much more than what they cost.

If you want an expensive gift, visit an art gallery. A work of art could find space for itself in any house. You might be able to find a good painting or a sculptor that could add a rich look to a living room or a bed room depending on what the artwork is. There are shops where they sell high quality artwork at reasonable prices. Therefore, buying one will not pose a problem.

The standard presents most people give newly married couples are the kitchen appliances and electric goods. Wall clocks, china and such things are also often given as gifts. What will happen at the end is that several pieces of the same items have been received. The only way to avoid this situation is to think innovatively. If you think your friend has everything he wants, give some money to charity on his name. You could leave the receipt in an envelope and make it a present. If your friend is one who is inclined to giving for charity, he will be delighted to receive your gift. Think out of the box. You will conceive thousands of ideas.