Thursday, 26 June 2014 18:01

Tell Me...

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Did you know that people actually enjoy talking about themselves? You may not believe me, but it’s true. More often than not, when a person is sitting silently while surrounded by others it’s frequently because they don’t believe they’ll be heard. It’s not that they have nothing to say, it’s that they are afraid what they say may not be greeted with listening ears.

I love July! It’s seems as though nearly every day is a party. Independence Day, Pioneer Day, annual family reunions, and several family birthdays all blend into a month of camaraderie and celebration in my world. However, all that togetherness can ironically lead to some dead air. When we spend a lot of time together it’s easy to slip into comfortable silence, or it’s easy to assume we know everything there is to know about each other so well they have nothing new to share.

Did you know that people actually enjoy talking about themselves? You may not believe me, but it’s true. More often than not, when a person is sitting silently while surrounded by others it’s frequently because they don’t believe they’ll be heard. It’s not that they have nothing to say, it’s that they are afraid what they say may not be greeted with listening ears.

I promise, if you’ll listen you can hear some remarkable things. I assure you there is more to know and more to hear. The real question is how can you get all those people talking?

Go prepared to get the conversations going. Don’t sit back and let others drive the conversations. Here are some questions to get some stories flowing.

Tell me about a moment in your life when you felt like time stood still.

Tell me about all the cars your family has had.

Tell me about your favorite Independence Day.

Tell me about your main cause of happiness.

Tell me about your most embarrassing moment.

Tell me about a time things worked out better than you thought they would.

Tell me about your first experience with Pioneer Day.

Tell me about your Independence Day traditions.

Tell me where you would go if you could go anywhere in the world, right now.

You get the idea. A good question invites more than a yes or no response. A good question invokes memory and provides an opportunity to share. Sometimes all you need is a word to get the stories flowing. Underwear, Trouble, and Scars are all excellent conversation starters!

So this July, while you’re waiting for the parades and fireworks, or gathering with family for any reason, don’t forget to get your family talking in new ways. Turn to your aged Aunt, smile your best smile, and say, “Tell me about a time you got in trouble for something you didn’t do.” You’ll be amazed at what you might hear!

Do you think you know all the stories of your friends and family? Do you think there’s nothing new for you to hear? What will you do to prove, or disprove, your theory? What new questions will you pose? If you need some extra help, check out our Chat Cards. They are filled with excellent conversation starters.

Last modified on Monday, 25 August 2014 13:10
Teresa Clark

A national award-winning storyteller, historian and author, she is best known for her original works and recollections of life's experiences blended with history. Teresa has presented and performed throughout the United States. Of her, it has been said, "Charming, witty, soulful, and wise, her performances are filled with a compelling sense of wonder and an irresistable zest for life." Her story work involves performance, education, production, and advocacy. From the main stage to individual consultations in living rooms across America, she delights in the excavation and sharing of family story. Most importantly, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother to her favorite playmates and best friends.

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