How many times have you sat through a meeting and asked, “Why am I here?” In the meetings that you host, is there a possibility that your attendees ask the same question? In a fascinating and highly informative new book, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, Priya Parker takes meeting design to an entirely new and more effective level.
Parker advises that most people often misunderstand what makes a group connect and a gathering matter, and she encourages anyone planning a meeting to ask these questions:
The more focused a particular gathering is, the more passion it arouses and the more effective it will be. Being very specific about a meeting's purpose and goals sharpens the gathering because people can see themselves in it. Ask yourself, why is this gathering different from all other gatherings? What is this gathering that other gatherings are not? What is the higher purpose? Every time you get to a deeper reason, ask why again. What larger problems is the gathering trying to solve? What is the desired outcome? What do you want to happen can help make the choices to get there?
A good gathering should be disputable and have some tension.