Back in August I worked with my first ever group of funeral home directors. As I mentioned in a related article, I ran a team building workshop for 75 funeral home directors, here’s what I learned, all of my friends and family thought it was hilarious that I, a comedian, was going to work with funeral home directors.
But as it turns out, funeral home directors loved my engaging team building, leadership and professional development workshop. Not only did they enjoy it, but almost more than any other industry I have worked in, I think it really stuck with them as something vitally important to what they do.
First things first about funeral home directors, they love their work. Now I’ve only interacted with a few hundred of them at this point, but the difference between people in the funeral service industry and many other industries, every person I talk to in funeral services described their job as “a calling.” Now I am not suggesting that other people aren’t “called” to their given industry. Heaps of people love what they do and feel attached to their careers.
But in a way, wouldn’t it make sense that people in the funeral service industry feel even closer to their profession? It’s unusual to choose to be around death every day, but these folks do it every single day, and they take a lot of pride in it.
(Founder and CEO of Knuckleball Comedy, Ethan Blumenthal, conducts a leadership workshop for the Rollings Funeral Service's Manager's meeting)
So how did a comedian like myself who runs leadership and team building workshops strike a chord with funeral home directors?
I could write for days and days about what it means to be an active listener. I’ve mentioned it in other posts and I’ll mention it again in future posts because I think it is so important.
What is active listening?
I define it as being truly in the moment when you are conversing with someone. When you are in the moment, not thinking about other things, but focusing on the person you are talking to, you not only listen to what they say, but you internalize it, it makes you think, and you remember it. And most importantly, the other person knows how much you value them and how important this conversation is to them.
Every single person could use to be a better active listener. But funeral home professionals who interact with people every day who have just lost their loved ones need to be a good active listener more than most.
Does anyone need to feel more valued than someone who just lost a loved one?
And for funeral services professionals, because they have similar conversations a few times a day, it can be hard to stay focused. Hard to show the same compassion every single time. But in order to be good at their jobs, they must.
I’ve learned many things since I began running my workshops for professionals all over the country. But one is that if you want to be good at anything, you need to practice. It’s not just baseball players, musicians or writers who need to practice. But we all need to practice if we want to get better at anything.
If funeral home directors want to be better at their profession by being better active listeners, then they too need to practice.
That’s why I do what I do. That’s why I preach active listening and why funeral service professionals love the Knuckleball Comedy workshop.
Learn more about our workshops HERE
By the way, if you wanted to see what Rollings Funeral Services thought of our program, check out the testimonial below.
"We hired Knuckleball Comedy for our annual convention with our leadership team representing our funeral homes and it was a fantastic choice. I'd say smashing success would be an understatement. Ethan from Knuckleball brought energy, laughter and a ton of value to our meetings. The managers absolutely loved his program, they not only laughed, but had some important takeaways as well that will have a lasting impact in their work. Not to mention Ethan was a pleasure to work with from the start. I'd highly recommend Knuckleball Comedy for your next big team event, convention or conference. And trust me on this, your funeral directors will love it!" --Greg Rollings, Owner of Rollings Funeral Services