Priya Parker, author of the critically-acclaimed book, The Art of Gathering, explains how we can build meaningful human connections while apart.

Have you ever felt that conversations have become superficial? With the "hustle culture" of social media, the conversations are all out for public consumption. Somewhere the meaning is lost. No longer are we having deep, heart-to-heart conversations and this affects our mental well-being in both formal and informal environments. The happy feeling is just missing!

So, what do you do? You consciously try to make this shift where you can foster deeper connections through better conversations.

Priya Parker is a group and conflict resolution facilitator. She’s trained in generating and structuring meaningful group dialogues and conversations based on needs suited to specific groups of people or communities. In this TED Talk, she gives us the following three pointers that can help us radically change the way we go about everyday communication.

1. Establishing ground rules

Ground rules help give structure and direction to social contact. At work, establishing ground rules help in connecting people to a common purpose, protecting them as well as equalizing them. All you need to do is to enforce these ground rules gently until it becomes a part of the habit.

2. Prioritizing a transformative experience

Priya believes that gatherings these days are not memorable and transformative enough to forge and nurture meaningful connections. The fear of offending an individual can come in the way of fostering effective dialogue and can result in a gathering being under structured and under hosted. Therefore, it becomes necessary to prioritize common needs of the gathering and navigate through the conversations together.

3. Get creative and personal

Create a name for formal and informal events and meetings. This can help uplift people and put them in the psychological and physical space to benefit from the outcome of the event in a virtual space. Here, they could share stories with other members. For example, sharing physical objects from our private spaces can help us bridge the gaps of distance and disconnectedness virtually and even mimic the experience of connection with the people we love or work with if done virtually.

Priya Parker concludes her talk by alerting us to some of the deficiencies and gaps in our social connections. She urges us to correct them through re-examination, courage and mutual understanding and in turn, truly become effective and sophisticated gatherers.

Ground rules help give structure and direction to social contact. At work, establishing ground rules help in connecting people to a common purpose, protecting them as well as equalizing them.
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