Connect with Your Purpose

If you really want to imbue your gathering with meaning, try to connect with your authentic purpose. “Gatherings crackle and flourish when real thought goes into them,” says Priya Parker in her book. When it comes to bringing people together, this is the essential source of knowledge. Here, Parker takes an expansive view of what it means to come together with one another, from birthday parties to international peace conferences, and everything in between.

“What is this that other gatherings aren’t?” Parker wants us to ask at the outset. A real sense of purpose is what drives the best gatherings. Find “something worth gathering about,” she urges us. Avoid dull, obvious reasons for an event, and instead drill down into the deeper possibilities; arouse the passion of your guests by standing out from the crowd.

One helpful technique is to “think of what you want to be different because of your gathering and work backward from that outcome.” Parker asks us to think of the larger needs in the world, and then see how this gathering might contribute. What if a birthday party was not just friends marking the passing of another year, but rather an occasion to set goals for the year ahead and surround oneself with people to hold you accountable?

Years ago, the Scorpios founders asked themselves “What if instead of booking celebrity DJs to host ‘beach parties’ we aim to facilitate rituals where like-minded musicians, artists and travelers from all over the world can come together? Where everyone can feed off the natural energy of the island, new-found connections, a sense of belonging and a shared aesthetic in the spirit of cultural exchange?”

Let the purpose of your event be your bouncer, Parker compels us. If you do so, then every other decision, from the guest list, to the venue, will become simpler. Just as Tanner emphasizes a need for tight curation, Parker asks: why dilute a gathering by inviting too many people? Instead, ascertain why each person on your guest list can contribute to your purpose. Then deepen the connections between those guests, while thoughtfully excluding others who are less connected to that purpose.