why we gather (and why we think you should too)
Similar to how your business's purpose should be reflected in your branding + marketing (read more here), your gatherings should be rooted in purpose, too.
This concept extends far beyond the boardroom. We gather to connect. To learn. To teach. To grow. To heal. To inspire. To be inspired. To share. To mourn. To reflect. To celebrate. To LOVE.
Ultimately, we gather because it's what humans are hardwired to do. But, have you ever noticed that after some gatherings, you feel empty, drained, or like you wasted a bunch of time?
Back in November, I had the incredible opportunity to experience Priya Parker's workshop, The Art of Gathering, at the Summit LA18 “ideas festival.” My biggest takeaway when it comes to gatherings:
Magic happens when the way we interact matches the purpose of the gathering; when there's some amount of risk or heat.
Mistakes happen when we skip over the purpose; when category trumps form, and logistics trump need.
Priya taught us that the best gatherings are rooted in purpose, and the more "disputable" the purpose is, the better. The venue, guest list, and agenda items should all work together towards this purpose. We should strive to create a "temporary alternative world" - the same people, under the same circumstances, sharing the same conversation will never be recreated, so let's make it as special as possible.
Gatherings related to your business should have the same special quality. Whether it's your weekly task meeting, your annual AGM, a client meeting, or a celebration, you have the opportunity to create magic through connection and purpose.
In the world of online businesses - ours included - we're realizing how desperately we need each other #IRL. Nothing beats in-person connection, so with everything we do online, we brainstorm ways to bring it offline. Because as Priya said, "even the best online gatherings don't even come close to the worst in-person gatherings."
We learned a lot about gathering in my life coach training, too. A few of my key takeaways:
Intentional open and close: make the openings and closings into a mini ritual (i.e. open and close the same way every time if the gatherings are recurring)
Let everyone speak and no one speak: everyone should put their voice in, and when talking, no "yes's" or "wow's" or "ohh's" - let them speak uninterrupted
Close the circle: form matters; don't let energy leak out (ideally, gather in a full-circle with no gaps)
Hold the space: the person leading the circle/meeting/gathering is responsible for this container of energy, and for noticing if there are any underlying disruptions
also: showing up on-time, open-hearted, and open to connecting matters.
Our dream for our online program, BEGIN, is to create pockets of heart-centred entrepreneurs all over the world, and for them to connect with each other. We want the connection to be both us-to-them AND them-to-them. We want to have local meet-ups (we swear it's not just an excuse for us to travel). We want to create a movement of soulful brands and businesses, and we know that in-person connection is the true amplifier.
So, for all you boss babes building your empire - how can you create intentional gatherings both online AND offline?