How To Conduct Effective Meetings: Have An Agenda

Meetings are crucial to companies, sometimes a company will have daily, weekly or monthly meetings to discuss previous happenings and how they are to move. However, not every company gets the most out of its discussions. Conducting effective meetings is imperative in determining goals and showing vision for the time between that meeting and the next.

Generally, there are five reasons why people have meetings, and these are:
– Give information
– Get information
– Develop a vision
– Make a decision
– Improve communication

These may sound like an obvious five things to think about, but ensure that you tick each box at the end of a meeting because, if you don’t, you’ll have missed something. Guaranteed.

The Importance Of A Meeting Agenda

Before setting up a meeting you will always ask yourself: is this meeting necessary? Now, when you’ve decided it is, you have to make sure that you don’t waste this opportunity by missing a crucial part or running out of time because you haven’t planned properly. As United Kingdom’s great wartime leader Winston Churchill once mused: “Failing to plan is planning to fail” and that’s poignant across all walks of life.

Making sure that all the right people are there and that the reason they are there is clear is one thing, but setting the parameters of discussion is of paramount importance. By developing an agenda, much like creating an article, allows for some structure for the discussion. Set objectives and stick to them.

Although, it is also important to make sure that the agenda means something, it’s all well and good having a set list but if it’s not specific or relevant to current work then it may prove to be a useless meeting. Have somebody to run the meeting, moving it along at the appropriate times and not spending too much time going over the same thing for half the meeting.

This sounds perfect on paper but what about if you can’t get to the bottom of one of the bullets on your agenda? Well, be professional, figure out how you can find the answer outside of the meeting and move on.

A bullet list for having an agenda handy would be:
– Is it being targeted at the right people?
– Is it specific enough for what the needs of the meeting are?
– Do you have exact objectives of what you want from the meeting?
– Is it a shopping list or is it going to lead to interesting and informative debate/recommendations?
– Do you have someone whose job it is to run the meeting?
– Allow allocated times to each topic.
– Don’t be scared to leave an item if you cannot resolve it.
– Make the next meeting better.

It’s a roadmap basically of how the meeting is going to get from A to B, where it’s going to stop en-route and what the final destination should look like. Having an agenda for a meeting gives structure, direction and purpose.

Shopping Centre Management Tips – How to Assess Locational Factors in Tenancy Mix Performance

When you look at any shopping centre the location factors will have significant impact on customer sentiment and trade of the tenants. Property Investors & Property managers should look at these factors of location when considering a property and how to take it forward.

  1. Access to the area from surrounding highways needs to be functional and direct. Essentially the shoppers to the property should be able to access from a number of directions without geographical barriers. Look at the layout of freeways, highways, and secondary roads to see how they integrate with the property during the periods of busiest trade. If you can find any barriers or problems with road access, then work with the local community or planning authority to change them.
  2. The size and functionality of the car park is one of the first things that impacts customer sentiment. Shoppers like to get into the property easily, park their motor vehicles quickly, and then move to the shopping area safely. Check out this process for yourself just to see what experiences the shoppers get.
  3. Car park signage, illumination, traffic flow, foot traffic, and safety all should be addressed so that people to the property can move with ease and comfort.
  4. Undercover car parking is a preference in many shopping centres today. Open air Car Parks can be converted to covered parking through the addition of awnings. This becomes a cost to the landlord; however it is underpinned through the increased customer visitations and sustained levels of trade. Failure to recognise the impact of car park usage in property design will soon see your competitor’s properties taking greater market share of the shopping community.
  5. Public Transport to your car park and to the shopping centre should be encouraged and supported. Property developers and property managers should integrate with the local planning authority to attract and secure different types of public transport.
  6. The surrounds of the property should be well maintained, safe, clean and tidy. This is highly important when it comes to Retail Property. The customer and the community move through the building surrounds and gardens as part of property access. Neglected common areas and gardens soon impact in sales and trade figures. This then has flow through to the rental for the property.
  7. Every property will have some form of competition in the local precinct. The shopping centre manager should check out the other properties that impact the subject property. What you’re looking for is variations in trade, the levels of trade, the type of shopper, the levels of rental, and the types of tenancies. It is surprising how much information you can get from other tenants in other properties simply by asking the questions.
  8. Every Retail Property should maintain records of customer access through the various entrance doorways or common area corridors. You can then see where the majority of problems with access can occur. The highest traffic areas must be well maintained to sustain a positive image for the property. Tracking the numbers of people entering the property through various entrance points will also give you seasonal trends of popularity and shopping sentiment. This can be cross referenced to the trading figures of the individual retail tenants. If the property is attracting the people or customers, but the tenant is trading poorly, then you have a problem tenant needing support or education.
  9. When assessing property performance for customers, it pays to undertake customer surveys on a quarterly basis over an extended weekly training period. This will give you a good customer profile and feedback regards matters that need attention.
  10. The common areas of the property should make the customer feel comfortable and relaxed. The common areas should encourage shoppers and customers to stay at the property for an extended period of time. This is where tenancy mix and tenant offering becomes important in surrounding the common areas and feeding from those zones. When common areas of the property are neglected it is unfortunately reflected in the customer visitation figures and the sales that are achieved at the tenancy level.

In summary, the locational factors of a Retail Property significantly impact the property performance. Landlords, property managers, and leasing managers should keep the common areas high on the agenda of property presentation expenditure.

How To Shop During The Sale

When I go shopping I am on a mission.

I march in and out of shops in an almost military precision and I know exactly what I have in mind. I have pre-planned my purchase(s) in my head and I feel disciplined for once and I prefer to shop alone. In the past I have shopped with friends who have bored me to tears – the ones who try everything on – I mean everything.

I’ve been guilty of being talked into buying something that wasn’t really ‘me’ or did not represent my style which I’ve later regretted, thanks to the pushy salesperson. Once I set foot through the doors of a shop, I can sense straight away if I am going to fall in love with something or not. It’s instinct. A classic example of my impulse purchases is driving to a shopping centre to get some ‘milk’ but at the back of my mind, I have a hidden agenda.

I end up going home with a pair of shoes, a clutch and a top on sale (minus the milk).

Shops have a subtle way of seducing innocent shoppers to spend more and stay longer. The upbeat or mellow music, the dark lighting, the scent, those wonderful mirrors that can make you look longer and slimmer. Fashion mistakes happen all the time. Wrong purchases are bought everyday. Time and time again I have vowed to stick to a written list which almost always disappears every time I head out. And with so many clearance sales, it’s so easy to be tempted and succumb to the reduced prices.

Here are some shopping tips to ensure you only buy items you need to fill the missing gaps in your wardrobe.

• Say goodbye: Go through your wardrobe and cull items that you no longer need, want, are out of shape or you haven’t worn in months or years.

• Shopping List: After de-cluttering your wardrobe, create a list of missing items. This is the most important step, so be honest and don’t skip this (and don’t forget this when shopping).

• Go for comfort: Wear something comfortable and dress appropriately. You will find you will get treated better.

• Luxury is sexy: When buying items on sale, go for luxurious textiles like cashmere, which can be very expensive when not on sale.

• Love your shape: Buy for your body shape and ignore the size on the tag. Remember, if you buy something that is too small, you will end up with the dreaded ‘muffin top’.

• Stick to classics: Classics will never be out of style. Think leather jackets, dark denim, white shirts and black dresses.

• Feed yourself: Never shop when you’re hungry. As strange as it may sound shopping on an empty stomach could mean rushing a purchase and not being able to think straight.

• Try it on: Most sale items cannot be returned. You don’t want another piece of item taking up space in your already bursting wardrobe.

• The bottom line: Wear the right underwear so you will feel great when trying clothes on.

• Have a budget in mind: Don’t put it on your card so you’ll never feel guilty. If you can’t afford it, leave it.

• Fall in love: Make sure you are in love with it so you will get your money’s worth and feel great every time you wear it.

How to Shop for a Swimsuit Without a Meltdown

(Disclaimer: Since I don’t like wasting people’s time, if you love swimsuit shopping, this may not be the article for you. Check back next week.)

Just eight years ago, I recall going swimsuit shopping. It was not a great experience is putting it lightly. The unflattering lights, my pale legs and a less than helpful sales lady, to top it off, was the recipe for disaster for someone who had the self-confidence of a flea.

I left empty handed and sat in my car for 10 minutes in the mall parking lot with tears streaming down my face, wallowing in self-pity and regrets. All I could think was “What have I done to my body?”

Now, keep in mind that at this point in my life, I was not overweight. In fact, I had lost the excess tissue, but I was still holding onto the struggle and working through a lot of my other “issues.” You know, the “if I could just lose ten more pounds, I’d be happier” kind of stuff, or “If I didn’t have stretch marks or dimples in my legs, I’d be perfect.” Those types of thoughts would always usher in my need to go on another diet, rebel, gain 10 or so pounds and do it all over again.

Looking back now, I must say that I was looking pretty good, but the mind is a doozy, isn’t she? She will ruin your day faster than a call from the Po-Po.

So, fast forward to yesterday. Same store. Same gal (yours truly). Different sales lady (thank goodness).

I’m about to leave for a cruise out of Miami. For the record, this isn’t just any cruise. It’s the Summit Series, which basically means that I’ll be boarding the ship with 1,000 amazingly brilliant and young entrepreneurs. As a participant from last year, I can attest that the women (and guys) are young with smokin’ bodies. The kinds of bodies with smooth, tight skin and beautiful curves. I’m talking Victoria’s Secret bodies, which is not exactly how I’d describe my own after having a very healthy 8 pound 2 ½ ounce baby girl with a 75 pound weight gain.

Here’s what I do know about my body though. She is freakin’ amazing. She supported me when I didn’t feel like I could support myself. She hung in there with me, even when I had abandoned her. She’s curvy and very feminine. She’s strong, so strong in fact, that she just did 30 push-ups without flinching just this morning. She can do a back bend and a cartwheel. She can ski, play tennis, golf as well as take amazing siestas. She’s ran not one, but two marathons.

Yes, she rocks!

I figured the least I could do was to don her in a fabulous swimsuit so she can soak up some vitamin D while cruising the Atlantic.

By learning to manage my attention and appreciation, as well as some practical tips, I not only had a successful swimsuit experience, but I had a fabulous time. You can too. Here’s what I suggest:

1. Find a sales lady who has a clue about your unique body.

I have decided that a successful shopping spree is so dependent on your saleslady (or man). Their job is to help you find the best possible fit for your body and then, if asked, to give you warm but honest feedback.

A great salesperson will go to the end of the earth and back to make sure you walk out a happy customer. (Note: my best shopping experiences have been at Neiman Marcus and Dillards. NM, especially, has a mission to offer an excellent customer experience.)

For the record, not every sales person deserves to be in that position. Some are downright rude and nasty or completely clueless. You deserve better. Ask yourself, “Do they deserve to help me?” If not, move on sister! Find someone who is worthy of your commission.

2. Know what looks good on you.

Sometimes clients will tell me that they want to lose weight so that they can wear a string bikini. Well, good for them, and I’ll support them every step of the way, but I must admit that I wouldn’t touch one with a ten foot pole. Not because I’m insecure, but because it would not look good on me. Knowing what flatters your body is half the battle. Part of being savvy is being honest with yourself. You don’t have to try to work up the confidence to sport a thong. You simply have to feel confident in what you choose to put on your body.

I’m past those years of the itsy-bitsy bikini, and my body deserves to have a swimsuit that flatters my femininity, as well as my stage in life. For me, that means a little extra coverage, and yes, a sarong!

3. Consider the lighting

For the life of me, I don’t understand why some stores have such unflattering lighting. Personally, if I were opening a clothing store, the lighting would be the first thing on the agenda.

When shopping, please consider the lighting in which you are trying on your clothes. Bad lighting is a recipe for a bad experience, unless you are savvy enough to recognize that you look much better than that reflection in the mirror under the fluorescent lighting, and more times than not, that will be the case.

4. Focus your Attention

The first three were the easy ones. Now, we’re going to do a little bit of inside work, because truthfully, for some of you, it won’t matter if you’re a size 2 with not an ounce of fat on you, you may struggle with your body. It’s always about something so much deeper than your weight.

When shopping for a swimsuit, it is imperative that you focus your attention on your strengths, beautiful qualities and gratitude.

Each moment, you are creating your life with your attention. You cannot see all that’s glorious and divine about and around you if you have a flashlight shining on what you think is flawed.

If you don’t like your legs, please don’t sit their and poke at them, squeeze them or spend 10 minutes analyzing them. Those actions will not make them magically shrink. What they will do is ruin your day.

Move your attention to something you do like. If you can’t find anything about your body to compliment, that’s okay (eventually you will, if you stop battling it). Begin to focus on other qualities that you like. Are you a good friend, sister, wife, etc.? Maybe you’re one hell of a chess player.

Just focus on something positive. Learning to manage your attention is the key to a beautiful life, and this is especially important when trying on a swimsuit.

5. Marinate in Appreciation

This is the jackpot. When you can just bathe in everything that you have going for you, you will not have room for the pettiness that we can all fall into. So, you have cellulite on your legs? Well, at least you have legs. So, you have some extra abdominal tissue? Well, at least you have some beautiful kids. So, you have fifty extra pounds to lose? Well, at least you are breathing.

This is a great time to talk about comparing, which is ultimately what most women do when they are trying on bathing suits – comparing themselves to Victoria Secret models, their sister, friends or any woman who they think is somewhat better than them. Here’s some advice that changed my life. Instead of comparing, begin to appreciate those qualities in others. Begin to celebrate beautiful women. By doing so, you invite those qualities into your own life. When you compare, you reject them.

6. Jump into the Water

I remember when my insecurities would keep me from playing full out. I’d avoid the beach, dinner parties or any event that would potentially expose me to the world.

However, when I discovered that ” this is it” (speaking of each moment in life), I made a decision to jump into my life and play full out. Was it uncomfortable? Yes! Was it a strange feeling to walk around in a bathing suit after I had spent so much time trying to hide from others? Yes.

But, you know what? I moved towards discomfort instead of away from it, and it’s made all the difference in the world. My thirst for life far outweighs my insecurities now.

It takes some work, but getting to a place where you don’t care what others think of you, where you can put on a bathing suit and revel in your own feminine energy and where you can go swimsuit shopping without have major breakdowns is liberation. Self confidence is very sexy and will make up for any physical flaw you may think you have.

Now, go buy yourself a gorgeous swimsuit this year and jump into your life. What do you have in mind?