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Do Your Gatherings Have Purpose?

Thursday, July 12, 2018 | by Rachel Trainum


Before this month's book read, I never thought there could be a talent or "art" to gathering. I'm not talking about going out into the woods and gathering berries or logs for a fire. I'm talking about gathering a group of people for a purpose.

And while you may think your purpose for gathering is clear and the goal is set, it might not be a strong enough purpose.

An example Parker gives could be to build and to practice a culture of candor with young professionals in your area.

According to Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering: How we meet and why it matters, the category in which a gathering is placed is not the purpose for the gathering. For example, networking or book clubs are not purposes. Shocking right? Then what is a networking event's purpose if it isn't to network?

Without purpose you're wasting everyone's time. Parker says either give them their time back or discover what you want to achieve, what's the goal, before actually gathering. Keep a format for how you want the gathering to go, but develop the purpose to get the most from it.

This isn't an episode of Seinfeld, where your gatherings are about nothing. You need to have your meeting accomplish something. So where do you start? Below are 4 tips Parker introduces in her book as ways to assist in finding meaning.

Tips for finding your purpose suggested by Parker:

Parker explains that the more focused your type of gathering, the more passion and excitement can come from it.

Next time you gather, think about if your purpose is actually meaningful and not a category requirement. Give the opportunity for more to come of your event or social, without wasting yours or anyone else's time. It's the small changes you can make that will leave a larger impact. Why wouldn't you want to get the most out of your gathering?

"Gathering - the conscious bringing together of people for a reason - shapes the way we think, feel, and make sense of our world." - Priya Parker


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