After 15 years of listening, we know what makes a great conversation: to start by asking great questions. Once you’ve selected your interview partner for The Great Thanksgiving Listen — whether you’re a student interviewing an elder or looking to spark lively conversation around your Friendsgiving table — you can get ready by reviewing our list of Great Questions or using the Great Questions Generator in the StoryCorps App. Here are some of our suggestions for getting a good conversation going:
GREAT QUESTIONS FOR ANYONE
• How would you like to be remembered?
• What has been the happiest moment of your life so far? The saddest?
• What does your future hold?
• Tell me about some traditions that have been passed down through our family. When and how did they get started?
• Where is your mom’s family from? Where is your dad’s family from? Have you ever been there? What was that experience like?
GROWING UP & SCHOOL
• Did you have a nickname? What was it and how did you get it? Does anyone still call you by that nickname?
• What did you think your life would be like when you were older?
• Has there ever been a time in your life when you wanted to vote, but were not able to? What was that like?
Consider brainstorming your own questions in your classroom, with your interview partner, or with your family. Compile a list of new questions to use in your interviews specific to your family, school, or town. The more specific, the better! A few prompts to get the conversation going:
• What makes our family or town special?
• What stories have you heard about this place or about us?
• Is there an intriguing, confusing, or funny tradition in our family or town that you want to learn more about?
• Is there a particular food we eat here that makes us unique? How can we learn more about it through an interview?
Afterwards, when you archive your interview, don’t forget to tag it with descriptive keywords that answer the classic who, what, when and where questions as well as this year’s keyword, “TheGreatListen2018”. Share a selfie from your interview, and make sure to tag us @StoryCorps #TheGreatListen!