If you know even a bit about me, you know I shun small talk. I may have known you for less than 5 minutes and have already found out what your life-long passion is.
As published in Psychological Science, researchers found that the happiest participants in a study involving more than 20,000 recorded conversations had twice as many genuine and deep talks as the unhappiest participants. Confirming what most people know: Surface-level small talk does not build relationships.
Now move this idea to your family and close relationships. Enhance those relationships by killing small talk and move into meaningful dialogue.
A few approaches are:
- No small talk once discussion starts
- No side chats
- Keep the person’s story confidential
- If you disagree with something, attack ideas, not people.
- Kill small talk with these communication builders:
- Run, don’t walk to your favorite grocery store and pick up MardiGras Napkins. MardiGras Conversation Starter Napkins
- Play your favorite board game – trade off letting each person choose his or her favorite.
- Write a short love note to each family member, then wrap around their utensils at the dinner table.
- Take a plain paper napkin and write or draw a question on each napkin, such as:
- You can take an adventure anywhere, where would you go?
- Picture if today you grew 5 feet taller what would you see?
- If you could design your own outdoor park, what would be included?
- If you didn’t have to take lessons, what musical instrument would you play?
- Use open ended questions, which begin with Who, Where, What, How and Why. Starters:
- What did you see today that made you smile?
- If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and what would you be doing?
- Who made you laugh or cry today?
- How would you design your dream school day?
I can’t wait to hear your creative ideas for building meaningful dialogue.