My colleagues joked that we had to get all of our COVID conversations out of the way before our Christmas dinner due to an anti-vaxxer coworker. But I had already decided I didn’t want to talk about work, politics, or the virus. And after we said good-night to everybody, my partner told me that it was a success to do my list of icebreaker questions. Yeaaa!
All you have to do, my friend, is just a little planning. I took the list of quirky questions (from The Art of Noticing) that I shared in a previous post and used my phone to reference them during pasta and pizza. And voilà ~ we went on tangents, and even looked up more questions when we ran out, and kept the conversation pleasantly flowing (even without alcohol!) for hours.
// Google’s Year in Search Trends for 2020 in the United States is another fun one. You could create a guessing/quiz game of what the Top 5 searches were for People, Beauty how to’s, Sports, and so on.
For example, what was the #1 searched recipe? >>> Sourdough bread! Isn’t that funny? It’s true, everyone was baking during #stayathome!
✴️ People love games. Apparently, after Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, playing chess is on the rise. Do you play any games regularly? I do! UNO!
// Thought Catalogue has come up with 300+ Things to Talk About with Anyone by categories like feelings, nature, astrology, but I’d avoid news and social media and conspiracy theories because you never know what might set folks off. (Plus, aren’t we just sick to death of all the negativity?)
✴️ Some of these questions might seem rather simple and maybe even silly, so you’re thinking these won’t work, but you’d be surprised. Every week I start my classes with these kinds of questions to get my students mingling and talking. You’ll almost always learn something new about others and yourself.
// I shared this free app on FB that allows you to cartoon yourself and was surprised by how many friends loved it. Give it a try 🤪… I wonder if it would do pets or animals.
// I’m pleased to see a new trend on the rise, compilations of positive and good news. I hope this continues outside of 2020 because I think we need to find common ground more than ever.
Gone are the days of shared benchmarks and milestones (getting married, having kids, buying a house, etc.) or even a shared culture since we can consume what we want, when we want and don’t have to tune into the same TV or radio stations.
So, take some time away from the pressure to ‘be informed’ and digest good news stories of 2020.
✴️ This was my first full year of subscribing to daily good news for my inbox, and I think it made a difference in feeling more balanced about world events. I chose a good year, too, don’t you think?
// It was also an extraordinary year for science which reminded me of one of my popular blog posts. I shared Nature magazine’s Leif Penguinson who is hidden in spectacular nature photos for their newsletters. You can find the latest Leif photograph in the science link or you can check out my post to see more examples.
✴️ Pictures can also be a great way to create engagement. I often use photos in the classroom to get my students to discuss topics. It feels less intimidating than face-to-face somehow; I guess it acts as a buffer, so to speak. Pun intended!
Wishing you all the best. Hope these helped to bring a little levity and light to your holiday season. 💖
What are your ideas for creating more positive interactions and conversations beyond 2020?