Circle up chairs. Or sit on the floor. Pop popcorn. Pass around a bowl (of popcorn).
These are things that make an ordinary night with friends into a convivial night with friends.
That’s how we did things last night when my church small group met up. We’re already friendly – some of us are even close. But the addition of little positive triggers like a passed bowl of popcorn made for a greater intimacy and lightheartedness in the conversation that followed (which could otherwise have been heated).
What if we brought these triggers of conviviality to every meeting, even work meetings?
We could try meeting in unconventional ways. A walking meeting or a sitting-cross-legged-on-the-floor meeting just creates a different kind of atmosphere from a sit-across-the-table meeting.
We could try meeting in unconventional spaces. A meeting in a park or over the table in someone’s home is bound to create more openness or more trust.
We could try bringing in opportunities for sharing. Popcorn brought the conviviality for us. But candy or coffee or fruit will also do the trick in the office. The keys are 1) delight and 2) sharing that delight.
Sure, the aims and methods of a book club are not usually the aims and methods of business meetings, but there are plenty of commonalities. In the end, humans want an experience of life together, on the same team. If we followed this principle, we could make meetings that avoid unnecessary posturing and unnecessary conflict.