Bon Newsletter Issue 3: Gathering with Purpose

Bon Newsletter Issue 3: Gathering with Purpose

How to make your next social gathering count.

Bon Education

Hi there! Welcome to Bon's monthly newsletter capturing the transformative impact of programs around the world. With social-distancing restrictions beginning to relax, we are asking: How might we gather with purpose this summer?

- Chris Batchelder

100 Seconds on Programs

How do you turn a regular meet-up into a gathering with purpose? This month, we explore the Jeffersonian Dinner technique to facilitate conversations that unlock the power of our collective experiences.

This past year has driven home just how invaluable our social connections truly are, and so we aregreeting the return of dinner parties with a commitment to gathering with purpose. With some proven facilitation techniques, a simple dinner party can be transformed from anevening with friends into a forum to debate big ideas and forge connections across social groups - accompanied by scrumptious food!

Gathering with purpose. A casual evening with friends is priceless, but when faced with a particular challenge or curiosity, we want to hear from different voices with fresh perspectives to gain a clear understanding of the nuances and opportunities. Like a creative brainstorm, a purposeful gathering requires a structure to be effective. The Jeffersonian Dinner (Thomas Jefferson is credited with pioneering the structure) provides a straightforward yet effective model for building trust, forging connections and creating a space for open discussion over dinner

Listen, learn and inspire. Jeffersonian Dinners have stood the test of time with a simple, repeatable format: the onlyrule is that just one person speaks at a time. To host a Jeffersonian Dinner, start by inviting a small group of people (not more than a dozen) from diverse backgrounds. The more varied the perspectives, the more interesting the conversation! After an icebreaker, the host kicks off the conversation by introducing the topic of the evening. While the conversation flows, the host gently guides the discussion by posing new questions and ensuring that each viewpoint is heard and no one dominates the conversation. As the dinner comes to an end, the host asks each guest to share a key takeaway from the evening. After dinner, guests are encouraged to mingle with each other and delve deeper in one-on-one conversations. We encourage you to try it yourself!

Interested in experiencing a Jeffersonian Dinner? This Tuesday, June 22nd, we are hosting a virtual Jeffersonian Dinner on scaling programs and scaling impact with the interstory community. Join today to RSVP!

What We're Up To

  • Virtual Jeffersonian Dinner: Scaling Programs and Scaling Impact: Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, began the Jeffersonian Dinner tradition in the 1700s at his home, Monticello. The format allowed every person to hear what was being said - and for every person to have a chance to share without interruption. We are excited to host our first virtual Jeffersonian Dinner on interstory! The topic for this dinner (or breakfast/lunch) is: Scaling Programs and Scaling Impact. Join us on Tuesday, June 22nd at 5pm UAE (GMT+4).

  • Community Case Study: Reducing Technology's Environmental Impact: In this community case study session, Max Mahmoud Wardeh and Sarah Hutton will present a project that they've been developing called Less Impact - an online platform that helps people learn how to reduce the environmental impact of digital technology. On Tuesday, June 29th at 5pm UAE (GMT+4), Max and Sarah will present the work that they've done so far on the project and invite participants to help them explore ways to spread their mission to new communities. This free workshop is exclusive to interstory members. Join now and RSVP today!

What's Inspiring Us...

  • Polishing the details: Athletes and artists are distinguished by their attention to detail: after all, their careers - and sometimes their lives - are on the line! But what is at stake for business professionals? Inspired by the perseverance and attention to detail of professional rock climbers who first free-climbed The Dawn Wall, our latest blog post explores what it means to polish the details and what we gain when we take the time to get it right. Read it here!
  • The power of grit: What are you willing to suffer through in pursuit of your goals? In the face of repeated failures and life-threatening injuries, most of us would find new goals. Not these elite mountain climbers. Now on Netflix, Meru documents the jaw-dropping story of three mountaineers on a quest to scale the infamous Shark's Fin on Mount Meru, one of the world's most challenging peaks. Watch it here.
  • Mid-life excellence: Is there a better way to approach the midlife "crisis"? Chip Conley thinks so. Inspired by his tenure at Airbnb, where he was twice the average age of his employees, Chip founded the Modern Elder Academy to help adults deep dive more meaningfully into midlife by embracing curiosity and wisdom. "Curiosity opens up possibilities and wisdom distills what is essential. If you can have both - like yin and yang - then you are of immense value." Heady stuff!

News from interstory

interstory is a global professional network created and supported by Bon Education that connects people building programs for a better world.

Summer of gathering. Summer is officially here, and with it we are excited to launch our Summer Meet-up Series running now through August. It will feature a packed calendar of thought-provoking seminars, networking events, case studies and discussions led by members of our diverse global community.

Join us for a stimulating summer of conversation and learning. Visit to learn more and start your application today. Membership is free!

β€œIt's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

― John Wooden, basketball player

The End