• Toby Sinclair

The Art of the Gathering by Priya Parker | Book Summary

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Rating: 9/10 | Recommended For: Facilitators | Category: Collaboration


The Art of the Gathering by Priya Parker Title

💡3 Big Ideas from The Art of the Gathering


The Art of the Gathering by Priya Parker helps you collaborate better:


  1. The best gatherings have a deeper meaning. Even for Birthday parties, what is the deeper reason for us gathering together? This might be to remember those we've lost, to learn more about the person we've become or to look ahead at the future. When you find the deeper meaning and anchor the gathering to it, you'll create spectacular moments.

  2. The gathering starts the moment people become aware of its existence. It's easy to focus on preparing all the practicals and forget to prepare the people. Priming your attendees for the gathering is crucial. Think about what behaviour you'd like at the gathering and look to prime it ahead of time.

  3. The best gatherings have tension. They have heat. They cause controversy. There is something at stake. Politeness prevents progress. Good controversy helps you re-examine values, priorities and nonnegotiables. This leads to something better than the status quo.


💬 2 Best Quotes from The Art of the Gathering


The Art of the Gathering by Priya Parker

Your opening needs to be a kind of pleasant shock therapy. It should grab people. And in grabbing them, it should both awe the guests and honor them. It must plant in them the paradoxical feeling of being totally welcomed and deeply grateful to be there.
None of us shows up as a blank slate to anything.

Tobys Top Takeaway


The quality of a conversation is determined long before it begins.


You are bringing your team together for a gathering. A workshop, training or team meeting.

Beforehand, you obsess over the practicals. Ensuring you have planned the agenda, arranged the room and ordered a good lunch.


But you forget one big thing.

Preparing the people.


In The Art of the Gathering, Priya Parker explores this problem and why it's important.

When you fail to prepare people, the conversation might be challenging. Imagine you want a creative, open discussion but people turn up ready with their solutions.


By priming people you are more likely to have a better conversation.


Imagine another example. You are running a session on coaching in your company. The behaviour you want people to show is empathy. To prepare people, send an email out ahead of time. Include real, heartfelt testimonials from three senior leaders sharing personal, specific examples of the transformative power that a coach had on them.

When you do this, people will be primed for the conversation.


Before your next team meeting, think about this.

  • How do you want people to behave?

  • How can you prime that behaviour ahead of the gathering?

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The Art of the Gathering Sketchnote 1

Source: Mike Rohde

The Art of the Gathering Sketchnote 1

Source: Mike Rohde