Create Great Conversation at the Dinner Table
Amazing dinner conversations don’t just happen by accident, they are intentionally created by you.
We have all spent hours around the dinner table but what where the kind of conversations have you remembered? When we invite others to our table, we have the perfect opportunity to create conversation that builds lasting friendships.
Conversation that encourages each other – inspires others.
Many of us function with a large percentage of our conversations in a phone-to-phone setting. Sitting at a dinner table, face to face with someone can feel intimidating and vulnerable. It takes work to keep conversation going. Often I hear the comment “how do I know what kind of conversation to have or what should I talk about? What do you do when the conversation has come to a lull and the room is silent”?
Growing up in a home where we always had guests I learned to interact with others on a personal level. I felt most comfortable being myself in this setting. As I grew older I began to feel more self conscious and somewhere believed a lie that I was not good with words or that I did not have the ability to make good conversation with others. I would second guess myself and was my own worst critic.
I could feel the panic rising when conversation would stop and no one seem to know what to say next. That awkward moment where we all sat there staring at each other made the few seconds feel like hours!
I have picked up so useful tools over the years to create good conversation at the dinner table, it is part of being a host. These will help set you up to win at any dinner conversation.
Here are five tools to help you learn how to navigate these moments, giving you confidence to invite others over, enjoy dinner, and deepen your friendships.
- What kind of movies do you like to watch?
- What is your favorite movie?
- What is your favorite vacation spot?
- What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
- What is one of your fondest memories?
- What has been the best thing about your week?
- How did that make you feel?
- Can you give us more details?
- Do you think you would have given the same answer 10 years ago?
Be a good listener. Listen to what they are saying and be mindful to not be the only one talking. This may sound obvious, but it is a skill and requires some discipline. Make mental note of what they are sharing so you know how to engage back with them. Take it a step further and jot some things down in your notes about them to help you remember for the next time. Perhaps, they had a big project at work coming up, an anniversary of the death of a loved one, or a difficult exam. Listen in conversation for mentions a favorite movie, snack, drink, love language or gift idea that can be used in the future to show them you care.
When we invite them to come again I already have some things to ask them about from our previous conversation. I will try an add an extra special touch to the visit by having a drink I know they like, or making a dessert they mentioned loving as a kid. It’s a small thing and yet it can speak volumes to them.
- How did you come to that conclusion?
- Why do you feel that way?