Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Get more than a grunt from your kid...guaranteed!

I receive daily posts from an amazing business guru named

Seth Godin. 

He talks about different ways to think, make business successful and relate to those around us. If you think about it, being in a family unit is like a business so I take his teachings and apply them to my everyday interactions with my kiddos. 


Todays post:

Open conversations (or close them)

A guy walks into a shop that sells ties. He's opened the conversation by walking in.
Salesman says, "can I help you?"
The conversation is now closed. The prospect can politely say, "no thanks, just looking."
Consider the alternative: "That's a [insert adjective here] tie you're wearing, sir. Where did you buy it?"
Conversation is now open. Attention has been paid, a rapport can be built. They can talk about ties. And good taste.
Or consider a patron at a fancy restaurant. He was served an old piece of fish, something hardly worth the place's reputation. On the way out, he says to the chef,
"It must be hard to get great fish on Mondays. I'm afraid the filet I was served had turned."
If the chef says, "I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your meal..." then the conversation is over. The patron has been rebuffed, the feedback considered merely whining and a matter of personal perspective.
What if the chef said instead, "what kind of fish was it?" What if the chef invited the patron back into the kitchen to take a look at the process and was asked for feedback?
Open conversations generate loyalty, sales and most of all, learning... for both sides.


Conversing with kids can be hard, 
we are all familiar with conversations that go something like this:

Parent:"How was your day at school?"

Kid: "Fine"

Parent:"Did you do anything fun?" 

Kid: "No"

Parent:"What else do you have planned for today?"

Kid: "Nothin"

and you both roll your eyes, realize you haven't conversed at all and go on with your day.

Apply Seth's principles with conversation and it could go something like this:

Parent:"Tell me what you did in 2nd period today."

Kid: "It was English and we read books, wrote a paper and then left"

(Score! You actually got more than a grunt and one word out of your kid!)

Parent:"You look tired after wrestling, what did your coach have you do today?" 

Kid: "I did wrestle offs, pinned a kid and had to do a million push ups"

(Yes, this is actual verbiage from my son and I)

It takes work,
real interaction 
for us, it requires no radio on in the car.
It's amazing what open, unfilled air can
bring to a conversation.

Thanks Seth and happy conversing!


  1. i second this post and my kids are just preschool / early ele. i don't have the radio on when they're in the car and i always ask 3 questions "what was your favorite thing you did today?" [lunch or recess are outlawed as answers.] "tell me one thing you learned in fill-in-the-blank-with-a-specific class." "who did you play with at recess?" hopefully the stage will be set now for when chronic eye rolling and grunts are the preferred norm!


  2. LOVE IT! It really does take time, effort & a little skill to be able to converse. Especially with kids. Thanks for posting this!