In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive--which they don't have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play.
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The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters
Drawing on her expertise as a facilitator of high-powered gatherings around the world, Parker takes us inside events of all kinds to show what works, what doesn't, and why. She investigates a wide array of gatherings -- conferences, meetings, a courtroom, a flash-mob party, an Arab-Israeli summer camp -- and explains how simple, specific changes can invigorate any group experience.
The result is a book that's both journey and guide, full of exciting ideas with real-world applications. The Art of Gathering will forever alter the way you look at your next meeting, industry conference, dinner party, and backyard barbecue--and how you host and attend them.
In this episode, you’ll learn
- How to follow Priya’s framework for creating intentional, meaningful gatherings
- That anyone has the ability to gather well. You don’t need to be a boss or manager, an extrovert, or have a fancy house
- Why the gatherings in our lives tend to adhere to traditional, outdated, and ineffective formats -- and often end up missing the mark, being disappointing, perceived as a waste of time, or feel like the “same tired way we’ve always done it”
- How a gathering can elevate if you put the right people in a room and help them to collectively think, dream, argue, heal, envision, trust, and connect for a specific larger purpose -- ultimately experience a sense of greater belonging
- Takeaways from Chapter 1: Decide Why You’re Really Gathering
- Why to commit to a bold, sharp purpose (a category is not a purpose!)
- Why specificity is crucial
- Why a purpose should be disputable
- Takeaways from Chapter 2: Close Doors
- Why your guest list is the first real test of your gathering
- Why/how to exclude well, and generously
- What the ideal sizes are for gathering types
- Why your venue sets the tone for your gathering
- Takeaways from Chapter 3: Don’t be a Chill Host
- Why you should acknowledge you have power as a host
- Why an abdication of power (being a “chill” host) often fails guests rather than serves them
- Why “generous authority” is about protecting, connecting, and equalizing guests
- Takeaways from Chapter 4: Create a Temporary Alternative World
- Why/how to “spice things up” by designing your gathering as a world that will only exist once
- How to use rules to create a unique feeling and make guests feel comfortable, secure, and included
- Takeaways from Chapter 5: Never Start a Funeral with Logistics
- Why the opening of an event is often a big missed opportunity
- How priming works prior to your event
- Why/how to usher your guests into the experience of your gathering
- Takeaways from Chapter 6: Keep Your Best Self Out of my Gathering
- Why guests want realness and intimacy from each other, not just someone’s “public face”
- How to encourage guests to share honestly and authentically (and lead by example)
- Takeaways from Chapter 7: Cause Good Controversy
- Why controversy can make a gathering “matter”
- Why/how to make your gathering "fruitfully controversial"
- Takeaways from Chapter 8: Accept That There is an End
- How to logistically close your gathering, end on a high, and graciously say goodbye
- Why how you end things -- just as how you start things -- shapes the attendees’ experience
- Why closings are an opportunity to recall your purpose
Practice The Art of Gathering!
Put the principals of The Art of Gathering into action! Then…
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What is Book Smart?
In each episode of Book Smart, co-hosts and personal development junkies Melissa and Em share what they learn and love from one of their favorite self-help books. Whether discussing the latest best-seller or a blast from the past -- on topics like happiness, success, habits, relationships, growth, and change -- Book Smart is here to help you read your way to a better you.