Do you ever find yourself grappling to come up with interesting conversation topics, whether at a social event, with a spouse or even with a colleague? Many times our conversation topics end up falling into shallow chit-chat or rants about unsolved problems. When growing older, those topics are more about health issues and aches and pains. In the podcast show that accompanies this article, Greg and I share some of our favorite resources to spark our conversation topics with each other and others.
The population of those 65 and older is growing rapidly as baby boomers age and Statista says the year 2035 is expected to be a turning point for the population of the U.S. with more people over the age of 65 than children. Additionally, with health advances, by 2060 there are expected to be about 604,000 people aged 100 and over. Keeping the mind sharp and developing interesting conversation topics will be of good use now and for years to come! We cover 5 ways in this article with some resources to spark your imagination and conversation!
Expand Your Knowledge Base
Expanding your knowledge base is one of the best ways to develop interesting conversation topics. With the number of print and audio books, videos and podcasts, there is little excuse for anyone not having access to more information and inspiration. Listed below are some favorite books, recent reads and podcasts. You can click on the links for more information about each. You will see by the titles that there are many conversation topics to glean from the span of subject material.
For Books, Greg is fascinated by history and his Cherokee heritage. A couple books he is presently reading:
Jacksonland by Steve Inskeep
In Defense of Andrew Jackson by Bradley J. Birzer
Know Thine Enemy: A History of the Left by Mark L. Melcher, Stephen Soukup
Some of the books I have recently read or listened to:
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Call Me Ted by Ted Turner
Cable Cowboy by John Malone
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler
Since I’m writing a new book, which is a fictional allegory, I’ve been reading or listening to some other books to follow character development and fantasy:
Educated by Tara Westover
Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel by Arthur Golden
The Giver of Stars by Jo Jo Moyes
Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling
There are many more books on our list including business books, but this list will get you going. I am always listing recommended books in my online courses and online events.
For Podcasts, Greg follows the financial market and listed are some of his top picks. They can definitely put me to sleep but I have learned enough to hold my own in a conversation with him.
Dollar Milkshake Theory by Brent Johnson on The Pomp Podcast
Crypto on Realvision
I focus more on business and entrepreneurship. You will need to look these titles up on Apple Podcasts. There are many others but I listen to these most often:
Speakernomics: Speak, Get paid, Repeat by C-Suite Radio, NSA
Startup Stories by Mixergy on entrepreneurship
Problem Solvers by Entrepreneur Magazine
Making Waves at C-Level with Thom Singer
The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loper
Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
Business Made Simple with Donald Miller
Take Time to Talk, Then Listen
There are many people who get together, but the conversation ends with, How are you? Or What do you do? To go beyond the standard salutations, you must listen and ask follow-up questions. The natural tendency for most people is to ask a question, then immediately think about what they are going to say next, talking about what is going on in their life. If you really listen, formulate another question to ask.
The podcast interview platform has been fun for me because I feel I’m growing in the art of listening, then asking more intelligent questions. I do my research before any interview, but also remind myself to really listen to expand on the topic even further. It not only creates an interesting interview, but is a way fun to learn something new and possibly even totally unexpected.
Expand Your Group of Contacts
As my parents and in-laws got older, their group of friends started dying off. This sounds terribly sad but is a fact of life. If we keep the same group of friends in our same age group, as we age, logically our friends will age at the same pace. This is why it’s healthy and important to expand our circle to include multiple generations. It not only is fun and interesting but inspires new ideas and technological advances we may not otherwise consider.
Networking groups such as Meetups, Chamber of commerce groups, Associations and other groups are all wonderful resources for meeting new people. Also, churches and community groups. They usually welcome most with open arms to volunteer at their events. By doing so, you will meet new people as you work side-by-side.
Try New Activities
This year, Greg and I went snowshoeing. What I remembered most about snowshoes were in cartoons, pictured as tennis rackets on the bottom of your shoes. That was definitely old-school. We were with a group of about a dozen others traversing through the snow on easy-to-attach snowshoes through some absolutely magnificent scenery. We not only had a wonderful time but made some friends we continue to keep up with.
Playing pickleball has been another fun activity. I did not get the athletic gene but am learning enough to really enjoy the sport. Plus, we have met some new people, in multiple generations and disciplines, that we are able to converse with and spend time with.
Lifelong Learner Attitude
I have spoken often about having an attitude of a lifelong learner. Technology will always be a challenge for many, but learn enough to converse, grow your business and platform and have fun. During the pandemic, most were forced to learn an online platform like ZOOM. For that reason, many are now venturing even further to create online courses and work remotely.
By reading, listening, conversing and expanding your network, you will find that you can’t help but learn and grow. And if you happen to be one of the lucky ones living over 100, you will find that comes in handy for many decades to come!
In many ways, we have become a copy-cat or cookie-cutter world.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
*“How they Made It,” by Dan Kimpel (Hal Leonard, Milwaukee, WI, 2006) p.17-19
If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning