Do you ever ask yourself why is it that some people are so easy to have a fun and engaging, even a deep conversation with when others it may be difficult to get the time of day out of them? Many times, the conversations that are the most difficult to start can be with those who are members of our family.
Today, more than ever with miles that separate families and loved ones it is important to have conversations, to open the lines of communication. To get to know one another again!
When you Have the Talk of a Lifetime, conversations about the things that matter most to your loved ones and how they can be remembered and honored in a meaningful way, it’s helpful to have some tips to get that conversation flowing. Try these suggestions to get the information you’re looking for:
Keep the Tone Friendly
Make sure you’re relaxed and smiling when you start your Talk of a Lifetime conversations. Make eye contact and respond to the other person to show that you’re listening, with a laugh, a nod, or an empathetic comment. If your overall body language is open – no crossed arms or staring off into space – then the other person will feel important and heard. These conversations may be in person or video chat, you may want to record some of your conversations.
Some of the memories and discussions you have may be painful, get off to a good start with a joke or a family story that’s going to get a laugh. Even when you get to more serious topics, a positive attitude can go a long way toward understanding and coping with memories and other issues.
Small Talk is Good
Many people get impatient with small talk, but it’s an important step in communication. You may need to fill some awkward silences with comments about the weather or what you had for breakfast, but these are things anyone can relate to. Small talk is a good way to bond and move toward deeper conversations. Plus, small talk is a more natural way of starting a conversation, rather than just abruptly jumping right into a big topic like funerals and cremation.
The heart of Have the Talk of a Lifetime is engaging your loved one and asking questions about his or her life. What mattered in that person’s life? Let the topics lead you along the path. Questions are a normal part of conversations, and if you’re keeping things positive and the tone friendly, then information will start coming. Comments that affirm and reinforce the information someone is sharing are important, too. “Wow,” “I didn’t know that,” “Tell me more,” are the kinds of things you can say to encourage someone to keep talking.
Keep Your Mouth Closed and Your Ears Open
You’re really there to listen, so let the other person do all the talking. It’s easy, especially if you’re relating to what someone is telling you, to jump in with your own personal story or anecdote. You don’t want to take over the conversation, so try to focus on the other person and consciously try not to dominate. If the talk stalls, that’s a good time to relate something from your life experiences to get the conversation going again.
Have the Talk of a Lifetime
Now you’re ready to have the Talk of a Lifetime! These conversation tips can get you going, and our free workbook can help, too. 60% of people who used the Have the Talk of a Lifetime materials learned something new about a loved one! Visit www.talkofalifetime.org/resources/ today and find out how to get your talk started today.