I usually write about business communication tips but since most of us won’t be working on Thanksgiving, we’ll have to communicate with relatives or friends.
It might be easier to go to work.
Here are 13 quick communication tips to help make your day festive and enjoyable. Bookmark this post, as it will come in handy for the entire holiday season!
1. Forget previous holidays, discussions, disagreements, and conversations. Go in with a clean slate and an open mind that you will have a fabulous and relaxing day.
2. Have a drink. I didn’t say get drunk, because things could turn ugly. One drink can help you relax and take the edge off.
3. Remember, not every comment or statement requires an answer. Silence and a smile can be very powerful. In other words, bite your tongue.
4. Use the phrase, “Isn’t that interesting?” If Uncle Grouch starts in at the table with off-color remarks, recite these three magical words. “Isn’t that interesting?” neutralizes virtually every situation. This phrase leads to a verbal dead-end. Then smile politely.
5. Mingle with the kids. This can bring levity to the day.
6. Take a walk. Invite someone special, or the entire group, to take a walk around the corner. The dynamics will shift, the conversations will lighten up, and the fresh air will be rejuvenating.
7. Keep a few friendly and neutral small-talk starters or stories in mind. Be ready to drop one in if things get awkward or tense.
8. Pass on being a “topper.” If Uncle Fred is bragging about his week in Florida, let him have his moment. Don’t chime in that you just returned from a free month in Bermuda because you were the No. 1 sales rep.
9. Be nice. Gossip often rules at family gatherings. Steer clear of pettiness. Don’t say anything behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t say to their face.
10. Avoid touchy subjects. There’s a lot of angst out there with unemployment, money, and everyday life. You don’t know everything that goes on in other homes, marriages, or relationships. Focus on positive topics and stay away from turning your feast into a “pity party.”
11. Cite three good qualities of someone who is with you that you dislike. Think of these qualities before you join the crowd so you can get rid of “old baggage.” Plan to relax and have a good day.
12. Offer to help. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with family and friends have taken place while we’re clearing dishes, taking out the garbage, or loading the dishwasher.
13. Communicate your gratitude. Regardless of how happy or unhappy you were during your visit, tell your host that you appreciate their efforts and invitation.
A version of this story first appeared on Get In Front Communications.