Thanks to COVID 19, whether work-related or not, the whole World is moving toward e-meetings, zoom birthdays, face-time calls, and more. This is an excellent opportunity to rethink the concept of human “gatherings” and redefine their purpose.
Humans, in general, utilize gatherings to connect. In the past, it was all about getting together in the same physical space, shake hands, talk, chat, hug, eat, so on and so forth. Sharing physical space, in addition to the close proximity, did add value to the meetups. It helped improve the demand for human connection and, as a result, allowed for more effective communication and quality of the connection. However, due to the recent quarantine, close physical proximity, which used to be the most critical component of such a connection, needs to be removed from this equation.
This write up intends to invite you to a new level of connection and meaningful gathering without shared physical space. To illustrate, I am going to use an E-Birthday gathering, but the same principals apply to any other e-meeting.
- Find the “Why” and the “Need.”
Find the “why” behind the e-gathering. We tend to assume meaning and purpose are clear, and that is not necessarily true. In creating meaningful e-gatherings, it is essential to ask what is the “need” given the circumstances, what is the need of my family or my community? And how is this e-gathering going to fulfill that need?
It might sound clear or given that you are e-gathering with your family members over Zoom to celebrate someone’s birthday, however, identifying a “need” can help add value to the plan.
Instead of thinking of a birthday party as marking an occasion, think of it as what would the birthday person need to see, hear, know? What are family members needing to see, hear, understand, and express? For instance, the goal can be “we are e-gathering to highlight our love for the birthday boy or girl,” or “to highlight the positive characteristics of that person.”
Identifying the why behind the behavior helps create a meaningful experience rather than just an experience.
- Create a theme.
Communicate a specific theme with your e- guests. In a traditional B-Day party, the host would have a decoration theme, dress code, wish list, so on, and so forth. Instead of all those materialistic expectations, add and create a meaningful experience by asking guests to prepare and share one thing they appreciate in the birthday person, share their favorite funny picture of that person, and play a song that reminds them of the person that is being celebrated.
- Have ground rules.
E-gatherings are new to many people. What helps is setting some roles as far as who is doing what when! This strategy provides ground and opportunity to all to have a share in the celebration.
It is important to accept that the expectations from e-gathering and meeting are different from the traditional ones. The means and process of meetings are different. None-the-less, the goal of connection and having meaningful quality time should not be compromised.
If you are interested in the topic, read:
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker