From department meetings to quarterly team events to industry study clubs, Menlo Group hosts and participates in a variety of gatherings. To create more memorable experiences at events, our team recently read The Art of Gatheringby Priya Parker. Here are some of the highlights from our book club discussion:
One of our greatest takeaways from the book was that gatherings must have a specific, unique and disputable purpose. By identifying our purpose for gathering, we can be more intentional as we plan events.
We took a hard look at our recurring gatherings to see if they still met their intended purpose. As an example, our bimonthly book club was established to help us grow closer as a team. Our company is larger now, and as a result, not everyone gets a chance to speak when discussing in the big group. Our solution was to break into smaller discussion groups and start with get-to-know-you questions. These changes have helped our book club better fulfill its intended purpose.
Whether we are hosting or attending a gathering, preparation is crucial to the event’s success. Our preparation should focus on ensuring participants (including ourselves) have a positive experience. While details like decorations and beverages matter, we should focus more of our energy on how to connect our guests.
The author stressed the importance of an impactful opening and closing at our gatherings. We’ve all been to events that end abruptly or drag on and on. At Menlo, a clear agenda helps our team members know what to expect and keeps us from getting off track. The Entrepreneurial Operating System has a great framework for department meetings that we feel has elevated our company meetings and our ability to solve issues.
Finally, a major point of The Art of Gathering was that social gatherings should foster relationships. To do this, we may need to exclude certain people from our guest list, implement engaging conversation starters, and set rules for technology use. These steps can help guests be more present and vulnerable.
Our team enjoyed The Art of Gathering, and we plan to continue to apply these principles to our personal and professional gatherings.