Each month, founder of Cardinal Rule Press, Maria Dismondy, will be reviewing business books she is currently reading. Along with a brief review, she is sharing some of her favorite quotes from the book.
In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive–which they don’t have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play.
Drawing on her expertise as a facilitator of high-powered gatherings around the world, Parker takes us inside events of all kinds to show what works, what doesn’t, and why. She investigates a wide array of gatherings–conferences, meetings, a courtroom, a flash-mob party, an Arab-Israeli summer camp–and explains how simple, specific changes can invigorate any group experience.
The result is a book that’s both journey and guide, full of exciting ideas with real-world applications. The Art of Gathering will forever alter the way you look at your next meeting, industry conference, dinner party, and backyard barbecue–and how you host and attend them.
We love to entertain at our home and I also host team meetings monthly for colleagues and CRP authors. I have never wanted to be the person to have a meeting just to have a meeting. This book talks about the importance of creating a WHY for a meeting not just a HOW. Priya Parker gives great examples to illustrate the guidance she gives in the book.
Top Ten Quotes
1. “There are so many good reasons for coming together that often we don’t know precisely why we are doing so.You are not alone if you skip the first step in convening people meaningfully: committing to a bold, sharp purpose. “
2. “When we don’t examine the deeper assumptions behind why we gather, we end up skipping to quickly to replicating old, staid formats of gathering. And we forgo the possibility of creating something memorable, even transformative.”
3. “When clients or friends are struggling to determine their gathering’s purpose, I tell them to move from the what to the why.”
4. “Think of what you want to be different because you gathered, and work backward from that outcome.”
5. “You will have begun to gather with purpose when you learn to exclude with purpose. When you learn to close doors.”
6. “‘Even when you get clear on your gathering in this way, there is never an easy way to say, ‘Please don’t come.’ That’s why so many of our gatherings end up being hijacked in the name of politeness. But here is what the skilled gatherer must know: in trying not to offend, you fail to protect the gathering itself and the people in it.
7. “One measure of a successful gathering is that it starts off with a higher number of host-guest connections than guest-guest connections and ends with those tallies reversed, far in the the guest-guest favor.”
8. “To get the group to be vulnerable, he said, we facilitators needed to share an even more personal story than we expected our clients to. We would set the depth of the group by whatever level we were willing to go to; however much we shared, they would share a little less. We had to become, in effect, participants.”
9. “Specificity is a crucial ingredient. The more focused and particular a gathering is, the more narrowly it frames itself and the more passion it arouses.”
10. “We all wear masks, and that while masks have uses, taking them off can allow for deeper connection, shared growth, and more fruitful collaboration.”