Priya Parker: The Art of Gathering – Invest Like the Best

Key Takeaways

  • “Every gathering is an opportunity to create a temporary world”
  • Every gathering should have a specific purpose and identity of who should/shouldn’t be there
    • A bad purpose: Let’s have a family reunion
    • A good purpose: Family is important and we are worried our bonds are starting to weaken so let’s get everyone together to strengthen our family relationships
  • A good moderator helps get as many people as possible to participate in the conversation
    • Ex. – A moderator might say to the audience, “Raise your hand if you’re here because of XYZ”
  • If you let people come to a gathering that aren’t supposed to be there, you’re diluting the gathering’s purpose
    • If you have a wedding and only invite your close friends and family, you’ll have plenty of time to spend with them. However, if you invite all your former high school and college friends, the time you can spend with your close friends will drop dramatically.
    • “If everybody is family, nobody is family”

Intro

Books Mentioned

Who is Priya Parker?

  • Priya is the founder of Thrive Labs – a strategy and visioning firm that creates unique, disruptive spaces in order to connect human talent and purpose with the world’s most pressing problems
  • Priya studied race, political theory, identify and immigration at the University of Virginia
    • After college, she moved to India and worked with the Dalai Lama Peace Foundation focusing on the Hindu-Muslim conflict

Starting A Gathering

  • What is a gathering?
    • Anytime 3 or more people come together for a purpose with a beginning, middle, and end
  • “Every gathering is an opportunity to create a temporary world”
    • Don’t start a gathering talking about logistics, start by naming the problem and getting the conversation going
  • Studies show that the first 5% and last 5% of a conversation are when a person’s attention is at is highest
    • At the start of every gathering you need to win your audience over and give people a reason for being there – as Simon Sinek says, “Start with why”
  • Every gathering should have a specific purpose and identity of who should/shouldn’t be there
  • There should also be a set of rules and code of conduct to guide the conversation and protect both groups so that they feel safe to share
    • When Barack Obama was president, he learned that males tend to call on more males during Q&A, so he made it a rule that at every Q&A session, the order would go boy-girl-boy-girl
    • Create rules and terms that benefit the group and help reach the gathering’s purpose

Good vs. Bad Gatherings

  • A good moderator helps get as many people as possible to participate in the conversation – ex. A moderator might say to the audience, “Raise your hand if you’re here because of XYZ”
    • This gets everyone involved, even if there are 400+ people in the audience
  • If your gathering purpose sounds like an activity, it probably is an activity and not a purpose
    • A bad purpose: Let’s have a family reunion
    • A good purpose: Family is important and we are worried that our bonds are starting to weaken so let’s get everyone together to strengthen our family relationships
      • The deeper the purpose, the less attached you become to the form/activity
  • A good gathering shares truths about both differences and similarities between people
    • Ex. That guy is Muslim and I am Hindu, but we both love to play the guitar
      • Everyone has multiple parts to their identity – share the parts that are similar and the parts that are different
  • If you let people come to a gathering that aren’t supposed to be there, you’re diluting the gathering’s purpose
    • If you have a wedding and only invite your close friends and family, you’ll have plenty of time to spend with them. However, if you invite all your former high school and college friends, the time you can spend with your close friends will drop dramatically.
      • “If everybody is family, nobody is family”
  • The opening of a gathering is the discovery – finding out about the gathering via invitation, email, word of mouth, etc.
    • Give your gathering a name so people will have an expectation of what the gathering will be about
  • The best moments in a gathering are when you can get people to feel safe enough to share what’s really going on in their lives

Additional Notes

  • A good gathering should take people on a journey just as a good story does
    • The best gatherings and stories have a beginning, middle and end, as well as a conflict that gets resolved
  • Culturally, here in the West, a lot of people are afraid of endings
    • It’s helpful to have a last call at gatherings to let people ask any questions before it ends
      • The moderator should recap what they’ve learned at the gathering and share highlights from the conversation before the gathering ends
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