The Gratitude Dinner: Why You Need to Host One

Around ten years ago, Laura Smith and I started hosting what we call “Gratitude Dinners”. It’s a night where we bring the mastermind groups we lead together for dinner followed by a night of intentional gratitude.

Why do we host these?

Because I’ve learned that every person on the planet is in desperate need of encouragement. After years of hosting gratitude dinners, I’ve seen the impact that intentional encouragement and gratitude has had on every person who has participated.

Gertrude Stein once said, “Silent Gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” Far too often, we let years and years go by without ever telling people what we love about them. That should never be the case.

Our gratitude dinners give people the opportunity to share what they love and see in the people they love on an annual basis. We believe everyone should host and/or participate in a gratitude dinner every year.

That said, here is the format for our gratitude dinners:

  • Schedule the dinner and host it at someone’s home
  • When you schedule the dinner, tell everyone attending that there will be an opportunity to encourage everyone in the group that night and tell them to take some time before the evening to intentionally think about what they’d like to say to each person.
  • Share a meal together (either have it catered or have everyone bring a dish).
  • After dinner, circle up in a room.
  • Have someone use their phone and open the voice memo app (I use RecUp).
  • Give everyone an overview of what the night will look like.
  • Select one person that you will start with to encourage.
  • Go around the room and have one person at a time encourage the person you selected. Press record on the voice memo app and pass the phone to each person that is encouraging in order to record their encouragement.
  • Once you’ve gone around and everyone has had a chance to encourage the first person, stop the recording, move onto the next person, hit record, and repeat this process until everyone has been encouraged.
  • After the evening is over, send each person in the group their recording so they can keep it forever.

Everytime I’ve participated in a gratitude dinner, people have been moved to tears hearing encouragement that they may have never heard in their entire lives.

Hearing that we are gifted, that we make a difference, and that we are fully known and fully loved is something that everyone on the planet deserves and needs to hear.

Worth noting: This process can take some time, so I recommend planning for 2-3 hours for it and I don’t recommend having more than 8-12 people around the circle.

My challenge is to you is to host your own gratitude dinner with your friends and family. People may be resistant at first, but I promise by the end of the night, everyone will see the power that intentional gratitude can have!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Smiths!


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