Creating Better Connections

Something to read


The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

Book cover for The Art of Gathering, How we meet and why it mattersThis book got me thinking more about why we bring people together, the structure of meetings, and how to get people to connect on a deeper level.

I read this book as I was preparing for a Peer Mentoring Group on career progression against the odds. I loved the ideas so much I built them into my design.

  1. An event starts right from the moment a person becomes aware of it. Before the first session I sent all members a questionnaire asking what they wanted more of and less of in their career, their strengths and what gets in the way of progression. I had the answers up in the room when they walked in and used them as a mid-way check in about where they felt after 3 sessions.
  2. If you want your group to go deep then as the facilitator you have to be prepared to be vulnerable and go deeper. I’m in the first year of self employment and I told them about my hopes and fears for the business. I noticed after the first session how quickly everyone opened up and formed a strong connection of support.
  3. Start by engaging your audience and then go into logistics once you have their attention. I stole Priya’s idea of a dinner table conversation starter to have with children, Roses and Thorns. At the beginning of each session we all, myself included, shared a success, the rose, and a challenge, the thorn. The one week I missed this everyone told me they wanted it back for next time.

Note: I am a member of the Amazon Affiliates Programme. If you click on the title or book cover an Amazon window will open and if you decide to buy the book I get a small commission from Amazon at no additional cost to you.

Something to watch

“There is no reason to learn how to pay attention, if you are in fact paying attention.”

I laughed out loud when I heard Celeste say this. 

In 10 minutes Celeste outlines 10 things you can do to make your conversations better for example by listening, asking good questions and the one that struck a chord with me, go into every conversation being prepared to be amazed and you won’t be disappointed.

Something to try


“I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Here are four ways to create more connections for you and others.

Connect with yourself

The festive season is a lot of fun and it’s easy to run yourself ragged. Remember to take a moment to check in with yourself daily to make sure you are getting enough water, rest and movement, even if that movement is dancing around your house as you get ready for another night out. Give yourself permissions to indulge and follow this great advice I got in corporate life:

Alcohol + Water = Fun, Alcohol + Alcohol = potential career limiting move!

Connect with a junior colleague

Senior leaders in organisations are often surprised to find out that their staff want to get to know them as people, to know that under all that success they are actually human. People want to hear about their journey to the top, the struggles and the triumphs.

On the other side, there is a wealth of untapped information that leaders can gather from thier junior colleagues that will tell you how the company is being perceived and what trends are coming. It’s win win.

So, make some time and ask a junior colleague to lunch or out for a coffee. Even better, ask someone who is not represented in your leadership team and take some time to personally get to know them and help them on their journey to the top.


Connect with your network

Everyone gets in touch with you when there is good news but you don’t hear from a soul when your life is going down the toilet!

If you’ve noticed in the news that an organisations is going through tough times and you know someone that works there, drop them a line of support.

Connect with family and friends

Another one from The Art of Gathering – Michael Laprise, a writer and director at Cirque de Soleil wanted to hold a Christmas gathering at the end of a long touring schedule but didn’t have time to decorate his tree. So he emailed his guests and asked them to send two photographs of happy moments they’d had during the year.

When the guests arrived they found the photos, cut into circles, on the tree. The decorations ended up sparking lots of conversations of the year’s highlights and unintentionally by asking his friends to find two photos he was priming them to celebrate the year before they even arrived.


1st Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash
2nd Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Something to ask


The best conversationalists are curious and instead of jumping in to bring the conversation back to them they simply say:

Tell me more.