Unusual Conference Venues

Many companies understand the importance of conferences for their staff. Conferences are a chance to network, share ideas and to learn, but boy are they boring. Yes, your staff gets loads of new ideas and meet lots of interesting and useful people, but given the choice they would rather not attend again next year. Fortunately, the people who run conferences are starting to wake up to this fact and beginning to try to make conferences less tedious. This has led to some great new conference events being held. If you are a business about to hold an in-house conference you can learn a lot from this new trend.

So the question is 'Where can I hold a conference?'. Basically as long as they've got the license and you've got the cold hard cash, then you can hold a conference just about anywhere you like. As the legend of Kevin Costner understands 'If you build it, they will come' and yes, you can host a conference at a baseball diamond!

Museums and art galleries. Being surrounded by creative exploits really stimulates the mind. Therefore a great venue for a conference has to be a gallery or science museum. Our favorite is the Vancouver Museum of Anthropology – mingling amidst ancient totem poles is quite the experience. Another great museum venue is the Science Museum in London, that even offers a IMAX cinema or a motion theater as two of the 8 conference halls it has available.

Marinas, Aquariums and Planetariums are also great places for conferences, most have lecture theaters for the presentations, with plenty of divers during conference breaks. In some Aquariums such as the one in Barcelona you can enjoy a spectacular conference dinner completely surrounded by fish. Although sitting down to the fish course does make you pause.

Blackpool Tower – yup sounds strange but come on, it's also pretty exciting and sort of kitsch!

In the mountains. Being amid inspirational landscape opens the mind to fresh and new ideas. Check out the Fairmont Springs hotel in Banff, you are literally a step away from heaven.

Want to impress, rent a castle! You can do it for weddings and you can absolutely do it for your conference!

Observatories – enjoy a daytime conference and finish with watching the stars – there's a metaphor in there somewhere!

Middle of the Rainforest? Lots of nature retreats host conferences and events. Bali anyone?

The zoo – yes it has happened, one crazy and obviously very talented events planner held an event at a tiger exhibition.

Like we said, you get the right equipment, shelter, catering and speakers and people will come. If you have an event dream – make it happen. Your conference will be memorable and people will definitely want to come back next year. Where you hold a conference says a lot about you and your industry. Conferences are designed to stimulate people's creativity and make them come away full of ideas. An inspirational venue is everything, so think outside the box.

The Beautiful Mountain Town of Sapa Vietnam

Sapa is one of the naturally serene and lush towns in Vietnam. It attracts many travelers with its magnificent landscape, which features colorful tribal villages, French colonial villages, lush vegetation and numerous green fields stacked on one after another.

Sapa is also close to Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam. Nestled at an elevation of 4921 feet or 1500 meters, Sapa is in Hoang Lien Son mountain range, in the northwest region of the country. Because of its geographical location, the town's rugged scenery usually experiences being clouded by a warm mist, which only adds to Sapa's beauty and charm, and making it truly a unique place to visit.

Sapa is about 376 kilometers from capital city of Hanoi. Sapa has risen to be the most popular mountainous district in Vietnam. You will easily be charmed by the terraced rice fields, the ethnic lifestyle and the cool climate, inviting you to stay longer in Sapa than you intended. Becoming a tourist destination paved the way for the establishment of hotels and accommodation facilities in this town so you do not have to worry about finding a place to sleep during those tranquil nights. If you really want to immerse yourself into the Sapa lifestyle, you can also arrange for a homestay in one of the tribal villages.

One of the best things to do in Sapa is walk around the town early in the morning as the tourist crow is not yet in full swing. The town is small, so you can easily navigate your way on foot. In fact, everything in and around town can be explored on foot making the most popular activity in Sapa – trekking. Trekking to various villages is fun and adventurous. Just make sure that you have good trekking shoes or boots and waterproof bag. There are also tours that involve renting a bike or motorbike to explore the countryside and visit waterfalls.

There are other less rigid things to do while in Sapa. You can always visit other neighboring villages like the Lao Chai Village, by hiring local transport like a jeep or van. You may also watch ethnic minor dance performances, sign up for the Hmong sewing classis and visit noticeable attractions like the Han Rong Resort, Sapa Culture Museum, the Sapa Lake, Bac Ha weekend market and the European orchid gardens and colonial buildings.

Sapa is home to a couple of ethnic minorities such as the Dazao and Hmong. These people live a simple life and have managed to maintain their culture and traditions. It is a rewarding travel experience to visit their villages and learn about their way of life. You can ask them to be your trekking guide instead of getting one through the hotel. Other than agriculture, the tribes are also now relying on tourism for a living.

Remember to always be respectful and courteous when dealing with them, especially when taking photos; always ask their permission first. The best time to visit the town is arguably from September to October as this is the period when the rice fields are turning their color from green to yellow. During wintertime, the town receives more of that appealing fog. No matter when you visit Sapa , you will definitely enjoy this new pin on your travel map!

Work and Study

The relationship between work and study should not be underestimated.

It is important that youngsters in general, and teenagers in particular, get real life experience of what it takes to succeed in the ‘real world’, what it takes to make money, and how hard dad or mum have to work to earn those extra few cents.

Recently a dad talked about the problems of getting his son to study; the family is wealthy and the son saw little need to make any effort to revise, do well in his forthcoming exams, and move onto a university and undergraduate subject with prospects of a rewarding career.

He saw his parents, particularly mum, as a ‘soft touch’.

The harder the concerned parents tried, the more obstinate the son became; the inverse law of proportionality seemed to be at work, or perhaps the law of diminishing returns. Necessity was definitely not the mother of invention!

‘Man he is a Lazy B…!’ complained the father.

At school, the youngster seemed to have learnt a lot about his ‘rights’ – but little about responsibility.

He didn’t realise that ‘rights’ and ‘responsibilities’ are the same bedfellows – they both start with the letter ‘r’!

The current situation was inevitable…

Things changed, however, after our recommendation that the son spend time working in the kitchens of one his father’s famous restaurants over the summer holidays (well, what else did he expect given his parents’ gentler efforts?).

Washing plates to earn his pocket-money was no fun; it didn’t take long before the grades started to improve.

Study was clearly a better option than washing plates in the kitchen.

Take Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world.

Warren has a wise head on his shoulders and drives the same old car and lives in the same old house as he did at the start of his career; his common sense has to be respected since his actions reflect his words.

He can afford to live in mansions, drive better cars but through his example has made clear that he intends to give most of his wealth to charity.

Warren believes that his children must learn to earn a living, make their own way in the real world.

The last thing he wants is to ‘handicap’ his progeny by handing over his billions.

Some of the smartest students at The University of Oxford in The Business Management School often spent their summer holidays waiting at tables before they got First Class Honours.

They are now CEOs of major companies, earning a very healthy living.

Consider another example from the world of tennis, the William sisters where Venus and Serena dominated the women’s game for many years.

Their early history is one of being introduced to the ‘Bronx’ by their dad where gang bullets were not uncommon whilst they trained.

The William sisters soon realized that working for success in tennis was a better option than living in ghettos.

Where cajoling fails, direct experience often succeeds.

If you want your children to study more effectively, let them work for it!

How to Set Up a Family Game Night

Family Game nights allow you to bond with your family and just have a fun time. Here is how you can go about setting one up.

1. Find a time when everyone will be available

Were all busy, the first thing you need to do is to plan it in advanced. Ask other people when they will be available and make it a date to look forward too. Put a reminder on the refrigerator so everyone knows when it is.

2. Find Some Games to play

You can’t have a family game night without games, so try to find some games somewhere; you may only need a deck of cards. You could also ask around and see if anyone knows of a fun game that you guys could play.

3. Decide what snacks you will have

People like to munch on things. Putting out a few cut up vegetables, or some chips can be a great idea. You might even want to replace dinner with snacks at family game night, just to mix things up a little.

4. Decide if it will be in the family

You have to decide if it will only be in the family, so only people in your family will be there, or not. I like the fact of inviting other people. You can invite other people and see if your kids want to invite other people the more the merrier.

This also is a great way to meet who your kids are hanging out with.

5. Have Fun

Family game night is all about everyone having fun and making good memories. So remember to go in it with a positive attitude and be happy. Remember if you aren’t having fun it can rub off and make it so no one is having fun either.