A few months ago, I remembered writing about how I didn’t particularly enjoy meeting a group of my friends (article linked here
). I continued to think of more reasons why, and also how I could possibly organize a meet up session that folks would find interesting and enjoyable. I came across this book called ‘The Art Of Gathering
’ by Priya Parker
and there were some really interesting tips she shared.
So how do you organize a gathering with a purpose for more effective and meaningful gatherings? Consider these few factors when thinking about it:
1) Going back to the ‘why’
Even with gatherings, always make sure that you are gathering for a good reason. If you’re trying to lead an intentional life, you certainly have to always prioritize important things, as as we all know, there is never enough time in the world to do every single thing you set out to do.
Meeting with old friends for the sake of it? Why? Do you really have anything to catch up about that will add value to your life? Could you be doing something else during this time which would make you feel happier / like you’re not wasting time? (I know I sound horrible saying this, but that was truly how I felt during that certain meet up).
Before you commit a good 2-5 hours of your life to a gathering, always ask yourself ‘What is the objective of this meeting? What will you get out of it?’
2) Group Size Matters
If you want a lively but inclusive conversation as a core part of your gathering, eight to twelve people is the number you should consider. Smaller than eight, the group can lack diversity in perspective; larger than twelve, it begins to be difficult to give everyone a chance to speak.
Some magic gathering numbers:
Groups of 6: Conducive to intimacy, high levels of sharing and discussions through storytelling
Groups of 12 to 15: Small enough to build trust and intimacy, and small enough for a single moderator to handle.Examples of ‘famous’ Groups of 12: King Arthur’s Table, Jesus’s Apostles.
3) Choosing the best venue to host
Where you gather matters, because venues come with underlying written scripts because of the associations held with it. How you behave in a courtroom will be very different from how you act at a nightclub. So remember that ‘the environment should serve the purpose of the gathering’!
Lastly, since diversity is such a hot topic of discussion nowadays:
4) Thoughtful exclusion activates diversity
Specificity in gatherings doesn’t have t0 mean narrowing a group to the point of sameness. With certain types of gatherings, over-including can keep connections shallow because there are so many different lines through which people could possibly connect that it can become hard to meaningfully activate any of them. Excluding thoughtfully allows you to focus on a specific, unexplored relationship.
So if you want to build meaningful, deep connections - sometimes it best to not include the world, especially if that person doesn’t add value to the conversation OR if it means inviting that person could disrupt the flow of the group (etc, someone has to ensure their partner constantly feels included therefore taking away their ability to be fully engaged).
Since I enjoy more intimate meetings, it’s a good thing the Covid-19 Singapore Social distancing rules limits group meetings to 8 people at the moment. I personally prefer 1 to 1s, or groups of less than 4, because I enjoy the intimate space and the amount of attention I’m able to give to folks
If you enjoy hosting, whether it’s an event or just having folks over at your place, I’d highly recommend this book!
What kind of gatherings do you all enjoy attending or hosting? Let me know :)
Till next week!