How to Get Em’ Talking: 7 Ways to Encourage People to Open Up with Vertellis
At Vertellis, we believe one of the best ways to connect with loved ones is to ask meaningful questions. Want to deepen your relationships but not sure what to ask? Check out our Question Card Games, all designed to spark memorable and meaningful conversations. Once you choose your game, read this article and learn our favorite tips for getting your loved ones to open up with Vertellis.
At Vertellis, one of the most common questions we get about our Q&A card games is “How do I get my friends/family/kids/partner/co-workers to play this?”
We get it! Most of us at Vertellis are natural-born sharers (we geek out on meaningful conversations!), but also understand that for some people, deep or “personal” conversations can be intimidating or “aren’t their thing.”
If your family, friends, colleagues, or partner are in that boat...you’re in luck! At Vertellis, we’ve introduced this game to lots of people and have encountered some resistance along the way. Luckily, over time we’ve learned a few things about how to get people on board...which is what we’re sharing with you today!
A specific example from our team member, Vanessa:
“I had this struggle with my family and my boyfriend. At first, they didn't want to play the game, saying "We don’t need that, it’s awkward, blah blah blah.” So I really know where you’re coming from if you want to play the game but are afraid to introduce it to your loved ones. I just asked them to trust me and said if they didn’t like it we could stop playing it. No pressure. They gave it a try and in the end, we cried, we laughed, and had really meaningful conversations that I know we wouldn't have had without the game.” - Vanessa, Team Vertellis in Germany
If you’re concerned that your loved ones may be resistant to playing or are introducing the game to a group of “non-talkers”, keep reading for 7 tips to encourage people to try Vertellis and open up during the game:
1. Start with a compliment.
2. Let them know the intention of the game.
3. Lay some ground rules.
4. Set an example.
5. Create a safe, relaxed environment.
6. Ask follow-up questions.
7. Tailor the cards to fit your audience.
1) Start with a compliment!
This comes directly from Moa, one of our Vertellis team members in Sweden! She recommends kicking things off by saying something like: "I would love to play with you. I've been curious about all of you for so long and I would love to learn more about you.”
If you’re inviting someone to play Vertellis, we’re guessing this statement is already true...but it doesn’t hurt to say it loud and clear! By making your guests feel appreciated, they’ll be more willing and excited about playing.
2) Let them know the intention of the game.
Yes, Vertellis has been known (and was designed!) to spark deep, honest, and heartfelt conversations...but the game is about so much more than that! At the end of the day, Vertellis is about spending meaningful time together without technological distractions.
What’s more, with the Vertellis Holiday Edition, you’re actively reflecting on the past year and planning for what’s ahead. This is an opportunity for everyone to set goals for the future and see what they’ve learned during the last year.
You can share different intentions with different groups - just make it something they can relate to!
3) Lay some ground rules.
Feel free to set some ground rules before you play. Let people know they can answer the questions any way they’d like and can share as much as they feel comfortable with. Also, let everyone know that this is an opportunity to listen and learn from one another without judgment.
Secondly, if someone draws a card and they don’t know the answer or they don’t feel comfortable sharing their answer, feel free to pass or save it for later. If you’re ‘hosting’ the game, you can create any rules you’d like!
Finally, release the pressure. If your group is hesitant, take a hint from Vanessa (remember her story above?) and let them know if they don’t like it, you can stop the game at any time. People often don’t know how much joy they get from Vertellis until they play it!
4) Set an example.
There’s nothing like going first! Liz (one of the Vertellis co-founders) shares her story of the very first Holiday Edition experience in the blog “How it all started…” One thing she mentions is that she started the game by drawing the first card.
If you have friends, family, or co-workers who are hesitant about playing, we recommend you do the same! By taking initiative and giving an open and honest answer, you’re setting an example for others who may be worried they won’t answer questions the “right” way.
Side note: We know you know this...but when it comes to Vertellis, there is no “right” way!
5) Create a safe, relaxed environment.
Have you ever been sharing something important to you only to have a cell phone ring or look over to see someone scrolling on their phone? It’s the worst. Giving full attention to people during a conversation makes them feel valued and eager to share more.
Therefore, first things first: before playing Vertellis, make sure all digital distractions are put to the side. Turn off the TV. Ask everyone to put their cell phones on silent or, better yet, place them all in a basket or bowl away from the table.
Secondly, make sure you’re playing in a space where everyone will be comfortable. Is it quiet enough to hear everyone? Are you in an environment where people can “let their guards down” and open up?
Vertellis has been played in lots of different environments: at home, in restaurants, at coffee shops, in parks...but you know your group best. Choose a place that will be conducive to a great conversation!
6) Ask follow-up questions.
Vertellis literally means “tell me more” in Dutch. If someone gives a cut and dry answer and you’re interested in knowing more, ask them a follow-up question!
Question: “In the past year...which moment would you most like to relive?”
Them: “Going on vacation to Ireland.”
You: “I’ve always wanted to go there! What was your favorite part of the trip?”
Asking a follow-up question creates an opening for the other person to go deeper with their answer. Just be sure your question is positive and supportive...it’s never fun to feel interrogated or like someone is questioning our choice.
7) Tailor the cards to fit your audience!
The great thing about Vertellis is there is no right or wrong way to play it! Vertellisers around the world have shared SO many great ways they’ve used our card games. Yes, there are classic ways to play, like around the Thanksgiving table or on Christmas Eve, but Vertellis has also been used for:
- Team building
- Office parties
- Support groups
- Counseling sessions
In ANY of these situations - including playing the ‘traditional’ way - feel free to tailor the cards to suit your audience. As we said, the goal is to spend meaningful time together and learn more about each other. You know your audience best, so if a card doesn’t seem “appropriate” for your group, feel free to take it out for this round.
BONUS TIP: Thank them for playing.
If someone stepped out of their comfort zone and played Vertellis, be sure to thank them for sharing part of their story with you. Let them know how much it means to you and what you learned about them that you didn’t know.
That way, they’ll leave the game feeling connected and heard - plus, they’ll most likely be excited to play again next time!
I tried the tips and they STILL wouldn’t play!
If you’ve tried these tips, and an individual still doesn’t want to try the game, they may just not be ready and we have to respect that.
What’s great is, like we mentioned earlier, you can play Vertellis with SEVERAL groups. If the game didn’t go over well at a family dinner, bring it to a friend’s wine night or to an office retreat. There are lots of other people out there craving deep, connected conversations just like you!
One final note...just because someone said no once doesn’t mean they always will. Ask again in a few months or try it next year. People change and you may be surprised what happens if you give them another chance. :)
Have you tried these tips? How’d it go?
Please let us know by dropping a comment below! And if you have a tip you didn’t see here, drop that in the comments, too! We love hearing stories about people connecting with Vertellis.
Cheers to your next great conversation!