We spend a great ton of time interacting with other people: meeting new friends, introducing yourself, conversing on a controversial topic, inspiring each other, or just having silly moments. And yet we spend very little time thinking about why we actually come together.
You subscribe to be part of the Toasty’s community, and that tells me one thing – you care about bringing people together for better interactions. Hey, we’re on the same boat! So let me see how we can support and help each other.
Ever since starting Toasty, I’ve met and talked to countless passionate event hosts and community builders. I learned a ton about running different types of events, workshops, and gatherings and what gives people an absolutely amazing experience.
Here I want to privately share with you, our new subscriber, the 5 things that will certainly change the way you think about having a group of people in the same room, and most importantly, put a smile on every single person who walks out of that room.
1. Just put in a little more effort
Whether you’re gathering a group of people for a living (business reasons) or for leisure (personal reasons), there is one thing you definitely should not do: go into an autopilot mode. What is an autopilot mode? When you bring people together, put them in a room, come up with an agenda with speakers, leave them to connect with each other. And you repeatedly do this every single time.
What’s wrong with that? You might have an event running, but it is most likely not one that people talk about afterward. Simply put, you didn’t optimize what you can do when you have a group of people in the room.
Every time you decide to bring people together, it is more important to think of the Why than to think of all the logistical details. Ask yourself: why are you doing this? There are so many people who don’t put enough effort in this, and that’s exactly why we’ve all been to a sucky event, a sucky workshop, or a sucky gathering.
2. You need to step in
Have you hosted any friends at your place before? After they left your place, have you ever felt that the gathering could have been better?
A lot of times, hosts put together a great event and figure that people will find their way to enjoy themselves. I can tell you now – this is the BIGGEST misconception.
People don’t like to feel forced, but they love to be guided. This is highly related to expectation management. At an event, people have no idea what the general expectation is and start to set their own expectations, which results in some people dominating conversations, some feeling lost, and some naturally leaving.
As a host or a facilitator, you have to plan in structures and guidelines to protect your people, and this is how they can find the best values from your events.
3. The smaller the better
People connect best in small groups, and I would recommend 4-6 people as the ideal size. The main reasons are people can engage in highly intimate conversations at this size without losing diverse perspectives. Assuming your event or gathering is not going to be hours long, then everyone gets a chance to speak and share their views.
If you may, always divide people into groups of 4-6.
4. It is not about you, it is about them
When you bring together a group of people, it is easy to think and want to be the spotlight. After all, you’re the one who puts so much effort pulling this off to gather all these people. You deserve it.
At the beginning of the event, it is certainly alright to have more connections between you (or your organization) with the participants since they’re here at your event. However, if you care about long-term value and want to nurture a community that is supportive and sustainable, you have to remove yourself from the equation.
As the event goes on, your role moves towards becoming a facilitator or connector who brings people together. The more meaningful connections you can create between them, the higher the chance people will enjoy what you’ve done.
5. Give them a sense of belonging. We all want to belong
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has belonging and connection right above physiological needs and safety needs, which means that it is an extremely important element of life that we all crave.
It is essential to give people a sense of belonging so that they would stick around.
How can you provide that?
By creating opportunities where friendships and relationships can happen. By establishing trust between people. By making them feel relatable.
But to do that, the first thing you have to do is to provide a safe and inclusive environment where people can make connections. Wait what? How? Okay … go back up and start with point one.
So this is how you can bring people together for better interactions. It is not rocket science, just thoughtful considerations of why you are doing this in the first place. I know that if you have the idea of improving how people engage with each other, then I would say you’re on the right track.
I hope that you enjoy this special post that I put together for you. If you ever want to discuss about this topic, feel free to reach out!
Co-founder of Toasty