(even when you're not sure what an Idea Party is?)

Here's how you do it...

1. Find Good People

Each time that you meet someone you'd like to know better, give that person your name and phone number and invite them to your Idea Party, even if you don't yet have a date or location. Hopefully, you'll collect a few names and phone numbers. Call everyone. The first person you speak with can be your buddy. She'll help you pick the date and location, and call people she knows. Don't hesitate to ask your friends, family, and coworkers to come to your Idea Party. Just say, "I'm having an Idea Party. Want to come?" and you'll get surprisingly positive results. You can have as many as 15 or 20 people at this party, and the more varied their backgrounds, the better. NEVER PERSUADE ANYONE TO COME. You only want people who want to be there. That usually screens out the "show-me" types, who don't make the best brainstormers.

2. Tell Everyone to Bring Food and Send Them Straight to the Kitchen

I strongly advise that the party be potluck. When people arrive, they'll break the ice best by going straight to the kitchen and putting out their food on the dishes you've provided. This will give everyone the feeling of working together right from the beginning. Also, bustling around in the kitchen looking for the right utensils creates an atmosphere that is a perfect warm-up for an Idea Party: playful, informal, with easy problems to solve.

3. Begin the Brainstorming

After everyone has a plate and is sitting (on couches and chairs, the floor, or around a big table), the brainstorming begins. Have pads of paper and pencils available. One by one, each person can ask for some help with brainstorming (or feel free to pass if they choose).
Here's what they will say:

"Here is my wish:_________, and here is my obstacle:_________."

Each speaker should present only one wish and one major obstacle. Explain as little as possible, so there's plenty of time to get suggestions. Each person gets 5 minutes unless there are fewer than 6 people, then they get 10 minutes. You want to keep the pace snappy.

4. Timekeeper's Tips

Don't worry if there doesn't seem to be enough time; everyone can talk after the brainstorming when they break for dessert and coffee.

Timekeeper's tip: use a timer, one that makes a loud "Ding!" when the time is up. You don't want to be the bad guy who stops people from talking. BUT IF EVERYBODY TAKES TOO MUCH TIME, SOMEONE WON'T GET THEIR CHANCE. The whole brainstorming shouldn't last more than 1 1/2 hours.
(If you'd like more instructions on how to brainstorm, see page 126 in Wishcraft, Barbara's first book.)

5. Break for Dessert

After everyone has had a chance to get ideas, the brainstorming is over. But the party goes on. Return to the food table for dessert or coffee. This is when people will get to know each other. By this time, they'll have some questions for each other, or more advice than they had time for during the brainstorming. Be sure to leave enough time for this part of the evening. It's an important part of the process.

6. Finale

When the evening is over, expect to get compliments on this party, because Idea Parties are fun! Ask people to leave their names and numbers if they want to be called for the next Idea Party. And if they want to host an Idea Party themselves, that's great! Go to their house next time!

7. Throw Another Idea Party in a Month - and Watch Your Life Get Better

At every Idea Party, you'll meet new people. Idea Parties are a sensational way to get to know the best people in town, and a warm and stimulating way to do some first class networking. Never underestimate the difference it can make in your life to meet someone who can hand you a piece to your puzzle. You could find out something that changes your life in this best and oldest way of socializing.

8. Forget Self-Improvement

Isolation is the dream killer. You don't need a positive attitude or self-confidence to make your dreams come true. You just need a lot of friends who want to see you get your dreams. With that support, your world will turn around.


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