The Art of gathering
Intentional Opportunities for Creating Meaningful Relationships

Special events, meetings, seminars, services. Such gatherings are a big part of the fabric of life, whether in person, online during COVID-19 or now often in hybrid form. In her 2020 book “The Art of Gathering,” Priya Parker challenges her readers to examine how effective all of these “together times” truly are and how to set intentions for making them richer, deeper, more meaningful and just plain fun, now that we can come together once again.

 

Seating arrangements/guest list

In some cases, both must be chosen carefully—for chemistry, networking and event goals. Others can be more open and freeform, but it is always up to the hosts to make sure guests connect and feel comfortable.

 

Icebreakers

We’ve all been to trivia and karaoke nights; a short format can get folks to open up. Faster table or group conversation starters like “three questions,” “whisper down the lane” and “Have you ever?” also start things off without bogging down a busy agenda or evening. They worked well when you were a kid, and they work well now!

 

Dietary and beverage considerations

Savvy planners will assume there is a whole range of diet and beverage needs, and this takes discomfort off the table, literally. Veggie, vegan and gluten-free options are no longer hard to do in the current marketplace. Mocktails and health/energy drinks are also now creative drink categories unto themselves. 

 

Special gifts/event remembrances

There are so many great options for this, from clever logo items to original artist-made favors or even a crowd-sourced photo project sent to guests afterward. Small seed bags or cards can keep the vibe and creativity going at home. How about an artisanal sugar cookie bar with the pastry chef on-hand? Creators then go home with a sense of “I didn’t know I could do that.” These hands-on activities can act as icebreakers, as well as memory makers. ::

About Author

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Anastasia is a volunteer, mom and gardener. She also loves reading, running and enjoying time with family and friends.

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