Will Your Holiday Be Festive – Or Festering?
Survey indicates millions of Americans will raise difficult issues at family gatherings; new resources from Nationwide® can help with tough talks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 10, 2007
Charley Gillespie (614) 249-5701
Columbus, Ohio — More than food will be on the table as families gather for the holidays this year. According to a recent survey by the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, one in four Americans say they’ll take advantage of holiday get-togethers to raise a difficult issue, from estate planning to whether to take the car keys from Grandma.
For the millions contemplating tough family discussions this holiday season, Nationwide has launched the Have The TalkSM initiative, which encourages Americans to discuss difficult issues in their lives – and gives them the tools to do it. The centerpiece of the program is the Web site, www.HaveTheTalkAmerica.com, that offers an array of interactive aids to help families successfully address what’s bugging them:
- Tips from Harvard communications expert and best-selling author Sheila Heen
- Funny videos from one of America’s hottest comedians, Frank Caliendo – star of the new show “Frank TV” – that can be e-mailed as ice-breaking invitations to talk
- An interactive quiz to help users determine their communication style – and whether they should change it
“The reason things surface around the holidays is because that's the time you're face to face,” says Heen, co-author of the New York Times business bestseller, Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most. "Families know they need to talk about these issues and HaveTheTalkAmerica.com is a perfect place for people to learn how to discuss these tough topics without starting a fight or ruining a holiday dinner."
More than half of all Americans in a recent “Tough Talks” survey by Nationwide said they avoid having difficult conversations with spouses, parents or significant others – because they don’t know how to do it without starting a fight or upsetting the other person.
The survey showed that holiday gatherings are a likely occasion for a talk about difficult issues, with 24 percent of Americans saying they’ve raised tough issues at holiday get-togethers.
“We all know that when families get together, things come up,” Heen said. “And the way families ‘have the talk’ can determine whether their holiday gatherings are festive – or festering.”
Top Five Have The Talk Holiday Communication Tips
By Sheila Heen, co-author of the New York Times business bestseller, Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most.
1. Share Your Conversation’s Purpose. The holidays provide the perfect time to share your stories, but let your friends and family know when you just need someone to listen. On the other hand, clearly tell them if an issue needs resolution or if you would like their input.
2. Pick a New Part. When families gather, members often line up in their pre-assigned positions – bystander, opposer, initiator, peacemaker. While it’s natural that people fall into a role during family conversation, make sure you don't get pigeonholed in one role.
3. Realize the Issue Isn’t Always the Issue. Whatever the argument is about – where you’ll spend the holidays, who is buying what gift, what you’re having for the festive dinner – chances are this isn’t the real issue driving the dispute. If the conversation becomes difficult, you really are fighting about how you feel you are being treated by the other.
4. Stop the ‘Hit and Run’ with Humor. You pass the gravy and a family member hands back a sarcastic remark. Next time that happens, don’t ignore the hurtful comment, but respond – with a bit of humor. However, don’t leave it at that, because you’ve simply returned a funny quip for their sarcastic comment. Ask them to expand on what they’ve said and why they made the original comment.
5. Ask Questions, Don’t Assume. Never assume you know someone else’s intentions. Be an active listener and ask questions. Be curious about why someone feels the way they do or interprets a situation the way they did.
“Tough Talks Survey” Methodology:
A total of 1,620 surveys were completed between August 10 and August 15, 2007, among a national sample via Market Tool’s proprietary internet platform. All respondents were required to be over 18. Nationwide was not identified as the sponsor. The survey has +/- 2 percent margin of error.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, with more than $160 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks #104 on the Fortune 500 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
Nationwide, the Nationwide Framemark and On Your Side are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Have The Talk is a service mark of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.