Couples, Family, Grounded Living, Relationships

Changing Conversations… move from small talk to meaningful dialogue.

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.

Recently I read an article from Inc. Magazine called Banning Small Talk. The article notes;  meaningful conversation can be the difference between happiness and unhappiness in a relationship.

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:

  1. No small talk once discussion starts
  2. No side chats
  3. Keep the person’s story confidential
  4. If you disagree with something, attack ideas, not people.
  5. 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.


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