Wellbeing marketing skill: Plan a mindful (virtual) gathering for your audience
In November, shame researcher, author, speaker and self-help hero Brené Brown interviewed master facilitator, strategic advisor and author Priya Parker about the art of gathering—during a time when gatherings are totally different than in the past—on her podcast Unlocking Us.
When the pair identified their podcast interview as a gathering between Brown, Parker and the listeners, it opened up a discussion on redefining what it means “to gather” and called into question the success of formulas for gatherings from the before times. It left us asking how wellbeing marketers can apply Parker’s tips for gathering to podcasts, meetings, Zoom calls and even social media posts.
Parker defines a gathering as three or more people coming together with a purpose. That last part is key: with a purpose. This could be a Zoom meeting, a party (in-person or virtual), a podcast, or, as we see it, a blog or social media post including a brand, an influencer and the reader. The more your content feels collaborative, the better, because it not only means connection with your audience, but hopefully engagement as well.
During the interview, Parker outlines the questions to ask before planning a gathering:
- What is the need in my community?
- Whom might we bring together in order to explore that question?
So the first question is the one to explore in the gathering, the second addresses who is invited. But it’s not just the topics or guests that deserve deep thought, it’s also the format.
As Parker said in the interview, “When we don’t examine the deeper assumptions behind why we gather, we end up skipping too quickly to replicating old, staid formats of gathering and we forgo the possibility of creating something memorable, even transformative.”
Here are some guidelines for hosting a successful and unique gathering:
Define and protect the purpose of the gathering. Go beyond creating an agenda. Truly outline what you hope to accomplish during your gathering, whether it’s a brainstorming session or a social gathering. It could be creating a plan for a project or providing a forum for mindful venting—something the Felicity team did late last year as part of our creative “Un-Retreat.”
Be a host with generous authority. You want your guests to feel comfortable and welcome while staying focused on your gathering’s purpose. Use your authority as host to make sure you stay focused on your goals.
You are the host, not Zoom. Don’t let your gathering’s platform or habitual format take over. If you’re throwing a baby shower, you don’t need silly games just because everyone does them. Similarly, just because your guests are already comfortable in Zoom doesn’t mean that this has to be a run-of-the-mill gathering.
The takeaway: Think beyond the borders of your usual gatherings and be assertive about sticking to your meeting’s purpose and desired outcomes.