The holidays put us in the afflictive situation of needing to be social savants for at least 45 days of the year. From Thanksgiving dinner to your office holiday party, ugly sweater bashes, and everything in between, your conversational prowess is put to the test. Add a layer of anxiety from intermittent seclusion over the last two years, and Christmas Dinner suddenly sounds like a holiday horror show.
If you haven’t mastered a solid fake cough yet, odds are you have to show up to the function, and you’ll need a few conversation starters in your back pocket to manage any chit-chat jitters. Here are a few prompts in case you’re caught in a bind.
Is this a busy time of year for you?
A general rule of thumb in conversation is to limit your yes or no questions because they don’t encourage additional rapport. However, this phrase is the exception to the rule. Although it is appropriate year round, during the holiday season, people are especially open to sharing their plans for the rest of the year, how work is winding down (or up), gift shopping, and so, so much more. And if one thing is true, everyone loves to talk about busy they are.
What do you have coming up for New Year’s Eve? Do you have any travel plans coming up? What do you have planned for this weekend? Asking someone what they have on the docket is not only a great way to show an interest but also to learn something new. You can find out about events, restaurants, and hobbies while allowing someone to share their passions. This approach also offers endless alternatives.
If you’ve ever had the clammy-hand experience of thinking you might be asked to give the celebratory toast, this option is for you. When corralling a group, ask, “what advice did you receive this year that you would like to pass on?” The question is reflective, insightful, open-minded, and inclusive. Seeking advice also makes them feel valued and gives an opportunity to share even more in-depth revelations.
Seeking recommendations is the best way to give a little and get a lot out of a conversation. Whether you’re interested in…