When I meet or talk with our Mr. Perfect BBQ Hosts, we tend to talk about the world at large but also what we can do in our communities to make it a little better.
We also talk about what works for them in their community, what they have tried or tested, and what things they have noted that have contributed to or increased our end goal of support, community and connection.
For those thinking about becoming a BBQ Host, or just those that are curious, check out our main findings and tips below:
BBQ as the “Barrier”
Although it may seem counter-intuitive at first, the physical BBQ can sometimes provide space and a “barrier” that actually increases connection. Many people struggle to talk at close proximity, one on one, with eye contact and everything that comes with us. It can be anxiety-inducing in itself. With a slight distance created by the BBQ people can feel more comfortable.
Keeping occupied on the BBQ
This was one of my first ever reflections. I found by cooking the food myself and keeping busy as such, whilst also talking openly and answering questions about why Mr. Perfect started, can prove to be a casual way to establish connection.
This has been suggested by many of our Hosts. When they have engaged with someone that may be a first-timer or not yet comfortable with the scenario, open questions always work well to get the natural flowing connection started. For example, “What made you come along today?” or, “Tell me about you”.
Although we do not mandate that there has to be some form of activity, some of our Hosts bring along a cricket set or a football. Taking part in a sport of some kind can not only the blood and endorphins pumping, it can bring people closer and feel more comfortable at not standing for two hours with others they may have not have met yet.
In complete contradiction to the previous BBQ “barrier” advice, once people are comfortable, I find personal the one on one chat can be powerful. Even as simple as introducing yourself to everyone individually can create connection, and sometimes those people come back round at the end to thank you.
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