Category Archives: Business

How Malls Manipulate

Malls really aren’t just four walls that are housing different shops. It is usually a massive area containing multiple shopping outlets and franchises. But, things aren’t that simple as malls require shoppers to purchase as much as possible in as short a space a time. How they manipulate shoppers is worth investigating, so that we can combat it in ourselves and perhaps use it in our businesses.

Music

We tend to use our senses in a complicated way: for example, we don’t just decide we want food based on taste alone. Something can look appetising but taste awful and something can look awful but be delicious. Similarly, we associate positive sense engagement with whatever caused it and other things closely associate with it. This is why malls play positive music that makes us feel comfortable. This way, we associate nice music with nice things. Our rational faculties are lowered a bit, meaning we’re more likely to think something is a good deal when it’s actually normally-priced; we think that we need a product, when we really don’t, due it being so “nice”.

Signage

As signage manufacturers, in South Africa, New York, Hong Kong, will tell you, the most important element of signage is the property of being memorable and functional. Thus, signs that are big don’t necessarily mean they will be remembered: they will just be big. Smart designs and spacing in malls means we learnt to associate particular colours and fonts and smells with particular elements of the mall. Even the spacing of the mall means we keep travelling further to obtain a sign and direction: meaning we pass shops we other might not have in order to acquire a sense of direction of where we are. Thus, one clever way malls do this is to occasionally and unequally space out maps and directions, meaning you’re forced to wander, increasing your chance of buying.

Lighting

You can put things in a better light, literally. Even making them shiny can, for example, slow people down which gives you more time to sell products and increases the chances of customers buying things from you store. People also believe shiny cars drive better, despite the fact that a clean car has little to do with a car’s interior – by definition.

Bigger numbers

If you put $200 next to $400, the former looks better. Indeed, if you priced a tie for $200 by itself, it might look crazy. But put it next to a $400 tie and suddenly it looks amazing and obvious as a purchase. This is known as anchoring, where we pin a specific measurement against a figure provided: in this case it would be in the high triple digits. This is a smart way to get people to pay unnecessary amounts where they otherwise would not have.

All of these are methods malls use that we should watch out for but also utilise in our own attempts to sell and get more customers for our businesses.

Etiquette for International Business People

In our globalised world, we often find ourselves needing to do business with people who live on the other side of the world. However, every culture has their own way of doing things. What’s acceptable in your home country might be offensive elsewhere. And a simple misunderstanding can damage a perfectly fine business relationship.

Here are some basic guidelines on social interaction in a multi-national business context.

Cultural awareness

There’s no universal set of business etiquette rules that can be applied around the world. Every nation will have its own set of rules and standard practices, so it’s important that you familiarise yourself with the particular culture of the people you’ll be doing business with.

Make the effort to find out what’s going on in their home. That way, you won’t appear ignorant and insensitive. For instance, if you understand the concept of “face” in many Asian cultures, you will know the implications it has for business conduct. Never “lose face” in front of contacts if you want to be respected, and avoid causing your Asian contacts to “lose face”.

Take cues

When doing business in another country, take your cue from your overseas colleagues. This is especially true for where to draw the line with personal space. In some cultures, men might be very unreserved in their affection with one another, so it would be normal to greet business associates with a hug. However, in that same culture it might be highly improper for a male associate to greet a female contact in the same way.

If you’re not sure how to act, hang back, observe your environment closely, and check what the locals do.

Time zones and language barriers

Aside from the cultural differences you’ll encounter, there are the more obvious differences of language and time. It’s important that where you can, you make allowances for these differences. Want to send a brochure or report to colleagues in China? Remember that not everyone speak English, so provide a Mandarin translation. Need to make a phone call to Hong Kong? Check the local time first.

Be tolerant

There’s always going to be something that will seem like a strange way to go about conducting business to you. For instance, Germans are well-known for their punctuality. But in many African and South American countries, on the other hand, scheduled appointments are often treated like a general guideline rather than an absolute rule.

In occasions like this it is vitally important that you be patient and adaptable. Be tolerant and non-judgemental towards everything that is new and different.

 

Reasons to use a conference hotel for your next conference

Planning a conference can put an event planner under a lot of stress. If the conference is hosted by a company the conference will be a reflection of the company as well as yourself.  While it is a mammoth task, there is a way to get the most of the conference planned by simply making use of a conference hotel.

Accommodation for traveling delegates

Finding accommodation for international delegates or staff attending from far away can be a nightmare. Using a conference hotel will make sure that you have all out of town attendees in one area. This will also ensure that you don’t get many separate bills to consolidate at the end of the conference. Delegates will also be close to the conference venue at all times.

Most conference hotels are willing to offer a discounted rate based on the amount of people expected to attend. Often you will be required to book a floor of rooms, but be warned: this means that even if delegates cancel and the room is empty, you will still get billed for all rooms booked.

Less traveling for delegates

Using a conference hotel will cause you to avoid a situation where the only accommodation available is far away from the conference venue.  If the delegates make use of the conference hotel’s accommodation, this will lead to less traveling to and from the conference venue.

Having delegates book into the hotel will also cause you to spend less on traveling expenses. Companies spend a lot of money on hiring cars and shuttle services to bus attendees back and forth.

Full Catering

As the event planner you may find that one of the items most attendees complain about is the food.  Making sure that delegates are well fed throughout the conference can be a tough and expensive exercise.

You have to be prepared for people from all different walks of life attending the conference. This means that some of the delegates will have strict dietary requirements based on religious or personal beliefs. You also have to consider people with food allergies.

Many caterers have a set menu and serve their food in buffet style. Because of this many caterers may not be able to cater for someone who follows a vegan or kosher diet. What’s more is that some catering companies may charge you extra if they have to prepare additional meals for people who have dietary requirements or food allergies.

Most conference hotels have world class kitchens and serve world class food. They are also more prepared to host people from all over the world. Some of these hotels host big events such as oil conferences and receive guests from Saudi Arabia and other eastern countries. It is of the utmost importance to make sure that their strict halaal dietary requirements are catered for by the hotel.

Finding Your Own Leadership Style as a Manager

Definitions abound for what exactly a leader is. Thing is, there are many different kinds of leaders. A leader doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who is loud and authoritative, or someone who can spontaneously come up with passionate motivational speeches.

And while some people are natural born leaders, this doesn’t mean that not everyone can step into a position of leadership. So if you have your eye on a managerial role, but worry that you won’t be a good leader, don’t worry. You just need to find a style of leadership that suits you. Here are some common leadership styles -. Which ones suit your personality?

The charismatic leader – Some people lead through sheer force of their magnetic personalities. By simply being themselves, people are naturally drawn to them and want to follow them. Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King – these are some of the most famous examples of charismatic leaders.

A holistic leader – You realise that an employee is a person with many different aspects. You don’t just push to make your team perform, but take an interest in their lives in general. You don’t just want a productive workplace, but a healthy environment where people can really flourish. People look up to you and respect you for this. And at the end of the day, this approach gets results because you bring out the best in people.

A leader who leads by example – You aren’t the type of person who says “Do what I say, not what I do”. You lead by inspiring people by your own conduct. You understand that leadership isn’t an end in itself, but a means to encourage and motivate people to commit their energies, skills and talents to be the most they can be.

The democratic leader – People appreciate your leadership style because you don’t act like it’s not all about your vision. You give everyone the chance to participate and be heard. Even the quiet ones in the corner, because you realise that everyone has value. You create a positive office culture and build a team around you that can work well together.

The take-charge leader – If you’re this kind of leader, you’ve just always been the type of person who in any situation can stand up and take responsibility. You don’t run away when the pressure gets too much; you can make difficult decisions, and you have the initiative to get things done.

The introverted leader – You know that the best leader isn’t necessarily the loudest person in the room, so you don’t fight to be heard. You sit back and let everyone have their say, because you know the importance of listening to others and thinking before speaking. Once all the commotion has died down and everyone has given their two cents, you say what you have to say. And it’s thoughtful, valuable and to the point. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about how introverts make great leaders, so you’re in good company.

Being a manager doesn’t automatically make you a leader. Think back to all the managers you’ve worked with. Do you think they were all leaders as well as managers? Probably not. If you want to be a good manager though, it’s important that you learn how to lead. Business management training will certainly help. But remember that it’s also about accepting the type of leadership style that suits you best, without trying to be something you’re not.

 

 

 

Handling Awkward Conversations with Colleagues

Let’s face it; working closely with colleagues can be a real strain on social boundaries. Getting along with people in your working environment doesn’t necessarily constitute friendship, yet full time employees spend between eight and nine hours per day sharing office space.

Addressing clashes of character or awkward communication in the workplace can be difficult when there is no way to avoid issues that challenge working relationships. So how does one approach a colleague about matters that are less than flattering?

Constructive criticism

Where productivity is concerned the interest should always lie with the company. An employee whose habits are counterproductive must be confronted in order to preserve the working team’s efficiency.

For instance, if a worker has a tendency to display rude behaviour, interrupt colleagues or ignore procedures, office relationships can suffer greatly. It is up to the team leader to address the person and stop the problem. However, criticising an employee for personal habits can leave them feeling insulted – even more so when the problem is of a sensitive nature, like personal odour or inappropriate dress.

Nobody is perfect

Even though a personal issue like bad body odour can make it difficult for employees to work with a particular person, it is good to keep a fair amount of perspective when awkward issues arise. In some lines of work physical exertion is inevitable, and sweating is normal. With South Africa’s sunny summers even people who do admin jobs in Cape Town or other hot climates tend to perspire throughout the day.

Before complaining about a colleague or confronting them about the problem, ask yourself if everyone else in the office is smelling like a freshly picked rose. Only if the person’s odour problem is persistent, even in a moderate climate, is it worth addressing.  Be careful not to offend someone just because they are having a particularly smelly day.

The same logic applies to colleagues who talk, eat, dress or organise their desk differently to you. Ask yourself if their behaviour is affecting productivity. If not, are they violating the company’s rules or dress code? Would you tolerate being criticised for their personal habits if the situation were reversed?

Consideration is key

The truth is spending five days a week in the company of colleagues will inevitably lead to some frustration and certain issues just can’t be ignored. If steps have to be taken it is important to be considerate of your co-worker’s feelings.

Addressing the issue is always better than gossiping behind the person’s back. Speak to the offending party in private rather than raising their personal shortcomings in front of the group. Warn the worker that they might be hurt by what you plan to say, and make the conversation as sensitive as possible.

Expect a certain amount of denial or anger after the discussion. Highlighting positive aspects about the person or offering to help them deal with the issue can soften the blow. Explain that you are addressing the issue to protect them from being the topic of gossip or allowing their offending behaviour to cost them good working relationships.

Dealing with the reverse

Keep in mind that co-workers are just as likely to get frustrated with you as you are with them. If a situation arises where a colleague approaches you about an issue concerning your working relationship, listen with an open mind and try to appreciate how awkward it was to start the conversation in the first place.