November 25, 2015
Minding Your Ps at the Thanksgiving Table
At maslansky + partners, we spend every day helping companies untangle complex challenges through the effective use of language.
Today, we’re preparing for our most intimidating communications challenge of the year: Thanksgiving dinner conversation with the extended family.
Turns out no amount of consumer research can prepare you for two hours in the ring with Uncle Jim and Aunt Tabatha.
And we know we’re not the only ones. Plan A is probably Adele’s new single. But for those of you looking for a solid Plan B, we’ve put together a handy guide with a few tips and tricks to talk your way safely through Turkey Day. It’s built on our 4 principles of credible communication from The Language of Trust.
Here’s hoping they help!
Unsurprisingly, people tend to be much more receptive to positive language than negative language. Plus this is Thanksgiving. It’s a time for giving THANKS, not complaining. Rule number one is keep the conversation headed in a positive direction at all times.
A Hallmark card never means as much as a handwritten note. Which is why your Thanksgiving thoughts shouldn’t feel like they’re coming from a can—the way Aunt Tabatha’s “homemade cranberry sauce” clearly did. Whether you’re complimenting the quiche or sharing what you’re thankful for, keep it personal and relevant to the people around the table!
Say what you mean. Thanksgiving may be a centuries-old tradition, but that doesn’t mean you have to sound like a 19th-century speechwriter when it’s time to share what you’re thankful for. And whether you’re making your toast or just making small talk about work, the fam will thank you for keeping it simple and plainspoken.
They say you’re your own worst critic, but we all know that title actually belongs to 7-year-old cousin Timmy. He’s just waiting to call BS on one of your stories and make you look bad in front of Grandma, same as he did last year. Which is why you can’t give him an opening. As long as you make sure everything you say at least sounds plausible, that conniving cousin Timmy has nothing on you. Hopefully.
Properly apply these “four Ps,” and you just might have a fighting chance this holiday season. But you can never prepare for everything. So if things do go sideways, remember: there are still 10 more songs on Adele’s album you can try.
Happy Thanksgiving from the maslansky + partners team!