When It’s Over, It’s Over: How to End with Grace and Finality

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Art of Gathering"

By Katie Corbett

 

It can be easy to let events extend well beyond the point at which they should end. The reality is that all things, no matter how good or fun, must come to an eventual end. Knowing this and taking it into consideration will keep guests from getting bored, parties from going on too long, or people continuing to meet well beyond the purpose of the initial meetings.

 

The book “The Art of Gathering,” by Priya Parker, talks about when to end, and the importance of ending with finality.

 

I recently planned a virtual brunch to celebrate Easter with friends. I stayed attuned to the room and the moods of my guests, waiting for the natural wind-down point. A few announced they had to go, and I checked with the others to see if ending at that point would be a good idea.

 

I was once at a party that ended a bit sooner than expected. I had to trust that the host knew what she was doing as the ending was announced.

 

Going to parties at my parents’ house can be exhausting, because there is not a definitive endpoint. I have started making endings for myself—when the timer goes off letting me know it’s time to go home to feed the dog, once I have been there a certain amount of time, or after cake and presents. This helps me feel like I can bring the event to a close and move on with my day. Don’t leave your guests feeling like they have no option but to stay if the event has truly ended.

 

Keep in mind that with masterminds and groups that have become close, the temptation will arise to continue the event long after it should have ended. Being firm about that ending helps create a sense of finality for the attendees. You will need to be firm with your guests about this and explain why the end is a hard stop, as some will want to continue meeting.

 

Do you have a story about an event that ended too soon or dragged on forever? Let me know in the comments.

 

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The Event Experience Starts Well Before the Party

By Katie Corbett

 

When it comes to planning events, it is a good idea to keep the entire experience in mind. Many just plan the event itself, though this is a bit short-sighted. The entirety of an event begins as soon as your guests learn of the event, and ends sometimes well after the event has taken place.

 

In the book “The Art of Gathering,” by Priya Parker, it is noted that as soon as guests become aware of your event, the experience has started for them. Create an experience as soon as the invitations go out. This will set you apart from others who host events, as many questions guests might have will be answered in advance. This is good because it will make your guests feel prepared to attend your event.

 

I recently took on a leadership role planning a book club. My co-host and I thought about what we would want to know as attendees well before the first meeting. We made sure information went out in advance, sent reminders to sign up, ensured participants knew where to get a copy of the book, and were aware of what chapters to read before the first meeting, among many other pieces of information.

 

These preparations could be used for any type of party. What to bring, any information that could be gathered to make game play more interesting, and even knowing in advance with whom they will be sitting will put guests at ease as they come to your event.

 

Do you have an event coming up that you’re excited to plan? I’d love to hear all about it, so feel free to leave me a comment.

 

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Every Party Needs a Purpose: Decide Why You’re Really Gathering

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Art of Gathering"

By Katie Corbett

 

Choosing a purpose for your event is necessary no matter where the event takes place. It might seem like not much planning is required for virtual events, since spaces don’t need to be decorated and not as much coordination is needed to get everyone into the same space. Even though many events now take place virtually due to the COVID 19 pandemic, choosing a purpose for each gathering is important. I’ll explain why in this post.

 

I recently read “The Art of Gathering” by Priya Parker. The book explained how purpose informs everything about an event, from where it takes place, to who is invited. I had seen this concept in action before, though this was the first time I had pondered the reasoning behind it.

 

I worked for a company that hosted a lot of committee meetings and work group planning sessions. I recall one such session that I wanted to attend. The CEO of the company had specific reasons that she preferred that I not attend. I was annoyed at first, but quickly came to realize that she valued my time and didn’t want me wasting it at an event where I truly didn’t need to be present.

 

To determine the purpose of your event, think about what you would like to achieve. What would you like the outcome to be? Do any special circumstances need to be in place to achieve this outcome?

 

The next time you plan an event, get very clear on the purpose. That will help you decide where to host it, what needs to be done beforehand, what to do once you are there, and who is best suited to attend.

 

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