Get more from your team – use a ‘Bring A Bottle Party’

24th July 2018

Have you ever been to a Bring A Bottle Party?

As the name suggests, it’s a party where everyone brings a bottle of their favourite drink. They pour their bottle into a giant receptacle, and make an enormous punch. And then that’s the drink that everybody has throughout the party.

It tends to be a party for teenagers or students. I attended one as a teenager. And I’ve only recently recovered from my hangover…

There are three types of people who go to a Bring A Bottle Party:

  1. The Contributors – they bring as many bottles as they can, to make the punch as amazing for the group as possible
  2. The Good Intention-ers – they want to contribute. But they’re very busy, and didn’t have time to buy any bottles. So they turn up to the party, and then drink the punch the Contributors have made
  3. The Pretenders – they pretend to contribute, but don’t. For example, they might get a bottle of clear spirits, like vodka. Then, at home, they empty the vodka into a separate receptacle, then fill the bottle with water. They bring that to the party, shout “look how much vodka I brought” and pour their water in the punch, diluting it

Clearly, if everyone plays their part and contributes, it’s a great party. But the more Good Intention-ers and Pretenders there are, the smaller and more dilute the punch gets.

So, what type of person are you?

A Contributor, right?

After all, who’d want to be thought of as being one of the other two?

And the link to communication?

Well, think of a team that you’re in. Two questions:

  1. What’s the communication like in that team? Is it usually brilliant? Sometimes brilliant? Not so good? Rubbish?
  2. What role do you play in improving your team’s communication?

Are you a Contributor? So, like the first person at the party, you give as much to the team’s communications as you possibly can, regardless of what other team members do. You work hard to play your part.

Or are you a Good Intention-er? You’d like to help your team communicate better, but struggle to do so. Other things always seem to come up. Your diary is too full to allow you to help

Or are you a Pretender? So, you pretend you’re pulling your weight. But, when they aren’t looking, you cut corners, safe in the knowledge they don’t know

And now one more question: when your team members think about your communications, would they rank you as a Contributor, Good Intention-er or Pretender?

Nobody would want to go to a Bring A Bottle Party, knowing that people thought they weren’t contributing.

And that’s just for a one-off party.

In your team, are you happy you’re contributing as much as you could?

And are they happy that you are?

Action Point

Three simple actions:

  • Improve yourself – if you think you may be a Good Intention-er or a Pretender, there’s a simple solution: contribute more. Invest more time and energy to improving your communications
  • Improve others – share this Tip with your team. Have an open, honest conversation about how you and they communicate. Identify ways you can all communicate better
  • Improve everybody – there are lots of ways you can do this – attend a course, ask an expert for advice, spend more time on your comms, etc. A quicker way: watch my short videos showing you step-by-step how to communicate better than ever before…

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