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We’ve all been there. Usually, sometime after turkey and before the game starts, when the uncomfortable silence starts to descend upon a living room full of people who want to believe they know each other better than they really do, we ask the question, “How’s work going?” Because hey, we’re family, and we’re desperate to pretend we have a handle on or even care about what our second cousins do for a living. Also, we don’t really know what else to talk about. The most common response is “good,” followed by an excruciating 20-second pause before some innocuous detail is thrown in to either shut the conversation down or open the door for more meaningful interaction.

I am advocating for the latter and here to show you the way. Here are some quick pointers that can help you make conversations about work with your family just a little bit less awkward.