Priya Parker does a beautiful job of engaging her audience in The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters. As I read this book, I was constantly reflecting upon gatherings that I have attended, created, and that I am looking forward to developing. I had distinct memories of gatherings or events that I have attended that embraced these concepts and others that did not. As I reflected upon the aspects that enhanced or detracted from my experience, I connected more deeply with the importance to create purpose and engage with intention. From a family dinner to a birthday party to a weekly meeting to the leaders of nations gathering to make a critical decision, Priya teaches us to be more mindful, more engaged, and to create meaning.
My key takeaways are:
1. Pre-event details are essential for pulling off a successful event
2. Having a purpose or intention is essential
3. Opening an event- how to open, when to talk about logistics, introduce your guest to one another
4. Focus on your guests- do what it takes for your guests to get the intended purpose out of the event
5. Closing an event- how to close, when and how to thank people. This is the time to allow your guest to transition back to the world that they came from in a thoughtful and caring manner
6. Be vulnerable, have courage, be creative, and put your ego aside.
One of the really cool things that I found while reading this book is that it reminded me of an incredible woman that we have in Saskatoon, Rachelle Brockman (principal, Eureka Experience). I have been fortunate to have Rachelle speak to my MBA class on a couple of occasions. Her vulnerability, courage, and FLAWSOME attitude have empowered me and put me in a state of awe on several occasions. I can say that I have experienced what Priya talks about in her book during the workshops that I have attend by Rachelle.
This book is a great resource that can be applied to how we show up in each moment of our lives. By following the advice in this book, you not only impact your life but the life of all those who attend these intentional, purposeful and sometimes emotionally challenging gatherings. I can’t wait to use the lessons from this book to be more mindful when I’m planning events in my personal and professional life!