On Being offers tips for engaging another person in conversation, especially those within your family.
John Sarrouf writes (excerpt):
1. Choose a time and space that works — for all of you.
2. Use questions that invite more than the monosyllabic.
3. Be an active partner, not an inquisitor.
4. Ask for stories.
5. Tell our own stories.
6. Use a structure to ensure everyone is heard.
7. Actually listen.
8. Silence is more than not talking.
9. Don’t just accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.