May 18, 2011

Happy #4: More Than Idle Chat

Over the years, I used many techniques to facilitate fellowship at my dinner table. My latest find is Chat Pack Stories, billed as "Fun Questions to Spark Story-filled Conversations." (Please Note: The author receives no financial benefit for recommending this product.)Each person who wants to join in takes a card and tells a story about herself, prompted by the question on her card. For example, "Got a story to share about something funny that happened while traveling?"

The idea of a story encourages participation and learning about other people. Most guests love to tell about themselves in this way. One card will get responses from others in the group, as well. In my experience, it is more effective than asking silly questions that require a one-word answer like, "If you were a pizza, what flavor would you be?," and better than delving into serious matters before you know anything else about your guests. As for me, I have a story to tell you about my jury duty and the professional Elvis impersonator plaintiff, but you need to come to dinner to hear it!


  1. Does one particular "story starter" come to mind as having prompted a unique conversation?

  2. People like to tell about something that happened when they were kids. And, maybe because we have lots of traveling guests, but that topic lends itself to funny stories. I will look in my box for an example of a question you could use.

  3. Sample questions: Share about an annual tradition you began many years ago.
    Tell us about a time when you were utterly and helplessly lost while driving.
    Tell a story about something you enthusiastically said "yes" to that later you wished you had adamantly said "no" to.

  4. We have been at a dinner where they used the Quaker Questions. Everyone goes around and answers the first question and then you start over with the next, etc.
    Quaker Questions:
    1. Where did you live between the ages of 5 and 12 and what were the winters like. (Some people may have lived in several places, so tell them to choose one place.)

    2. How was your home heated?

    3. Two parts:

    A. What was the center of warmth in your life when you were a child. (This can be a place in the house, a time of year and perhaps a person.)
    B. Who was the center of warmth in your life? (This is a person.)

    4. When did God become a “warm” being to you and how did this happen?
    (They changed the last question to "When did God become more than a word to you")

  5. Carol, I love how those questions put everyone at ease and build community with a very concrete story about childhood, then move the conversation to spiritual things. Thanks for sharing!


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