November 22, 2022
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year: the change of seasons, quality time with family and (let's not forget) pumpkin-spice ev-er-y-thing.
But for many, the holidays also bring the stress of confronting (or not confronting) family and friends who have differing values or beliefs — a conflict that’s particularly strong in today’s polarized political climate. While it can be difficult, this time can also be an opportunity to reconnect and rediscover what makes us similar. To deepen relationships and spark new connections. To plug into our powers of empathy and understanding. A meaningful conversation can be the most powerful tool we have for bringing people together. Sometimes, all that is missing is the right questions.
With a multi-generational table, it can be hard to know what conversation-starters will draw out fun stories from a quiet uncle or keep a younger colleague engaged. Here are a few tips and questions we gathered to make your meal more memorable this November.
Keep it casual. Just because you are being intentional about asking questions doesn't mean this needs to feel like an interview. Keep things loose — ask follow-up questions, be interested, and be open!
Listen. A good conversation requires the people who are not talking to actively listen. Try and understand what someone is saying, without interrupting, talking over them or immediately rushing in with advice or a counter-story.
Be patient. Give time and space to the old, young, and shy to speak their mind. Everyone should get an equal chance to express themselves.
Make it fun! Sometimes asking a deep question can feel intense or awkward in a casual setting. This is where a game can help. Our deck of conversation cards takes the awkwardness away — you can always “blame the card” for asking the tough question :-).
Icebreakers are the appetizers of good conversation, giving us a taste of what's to come and leaving us hungry for more. Here are a few easy icebreaker questions to whet the table’s appetite:
Now that everyone is warmed up, take things to the next level. These questions should help people dig deeper, open up, and share more meaningful thoughts, feelings and stories:
We hope that these tips and sampling of questions from our Listen Up! Cards will help you host a warm and welcoming dinner. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Engage by Listen Léon is our amazing product that connects families and colleagues online at random and uses the questions from our Listen Up! Cards. A great way to connect and remove the long silences from strained relationships and first meetings.
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We have created Listen Léon to offer ways to help others see their goodness and embrace their best selves in this time of uncertainty, and that cultivates our human connection through kindness, compassion, and other prosocial qualities.
Everyone needs to lean on their strengths, embrace their best self.
CEO and Cofounder at Listen Léon