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My Number One Trick to Making Holiday Gatherings WAY More Interesting!

If you’re anything like me, the holiday season is filled with dinner parties, brunches, and what I’ve heard called “forced-family-fun-time”!

Don't get me wrong, I adore my family and friends, and I’m so grateful to hang out with them (in person and not virtually!) during the holidays!

But inevitably conversations linger at the surface level, small talk region for a majority of the interactions I have. And that is my least favorite place for conversations to live.

So this holiday season, let’s try this one simple thing to make our holiday conversations so much more interesting!

A new take on the “The Name Game”

Most of us have done some type of name-game icebreaker at a gathering, retreat, conference, or meeting. The instructions usually sound something like this:

“Everyone go around the circle and say your name with an adjective/an action/a food that starts with the same letter as your name! Then everyone repeat the names of those who have gone before you when it’s your turn!

I’m kind Karli/kicking Karli/ketchup Karli”


This is bad for so, so many reasons:

  • It’s terribly surface level

  • It’s juvenile

  • It encourages competition more than learning

  • It’s more focused on performance than the goal of getting to know people

  • It’s just cringy

How can we make it better?

At your next gathering ask folks this question instead:

What inspired your name? Why is your name what it is?

This could be your first name, middle name, last name, nickname, chosen name, the spelling of your name, why your parents chose your name, etc.

This is infinitely better because:

  • It encourages real, meaningful conversation

  • It works for people who just met or who have known each other forever

  • It eliminates the element of competition because everyone’s answer is personal and different rather than a creative choice

  • People can choose to share a lot or a little about themselves, their background, their family, etc.

Bottom line:

This question gives ample opportunity for quality follow-up questions which creates a gathering with more authentic human connection.

And that’s the goal!

Next time you use this in conversation with a friend, relative, or acquaintance - or you go around the dinner table to involve everyone in the fun - let me know how it goes!

And I would love to hear where your name came from or why you go by your name!

Send me a comment, DM, or email, and let me know.

It would absolutely make my day :)

PS: Looking for more personalized suggestions for how to level up your interactions and achieve your goals for personal growth?

Schedule a FREE Executive Coaching Consultation with me HERE!

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About Karli

As the owner of Karli Sherman Productions, I am a professional speaker, leadership coach, and executive coach. I help companies, campuses, and individuals to level up and grow through professional development workshops, intensive coaching, and keynote presentations.

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