Episode 25 : Prompting Your Conversation

by Ian

in Conversation, Motivation, Podcast, Prompts

The prompts of your Life Story are around you.

Prompts, ideas or any of the conversational topics are one of the first things that people seem to struggle with when it comes to recording their biography. What will I mention? I don’t have anything to say… Or maybe, I have so many things to say but I just don’t know where to start. To Create Your Life Story it’s helpful to be reminded of all those wonderful experiences of your life. Some people can list a long timeline of their experiences while others need a gentle poke to remember how it was.

Memories and Prompts of Your Life

Memories in a Box of Photos

It’s about the conversation

The ideal method of recording a life story is in conversation with someone else. They can ask those leading questions and show the interest that provokes responses and engages. to draw out more information and travel down the memory lanes digging up old experiences. If the Life Story is being recorded by individually it’s necessary to be self disciplined in the storytelling to continue the conversation as if someone was sitting there listening intently to the stories as many people will be when they listen to the recordings long after you’ve completed the production of Your Life Story.

It doesn’t matter if it’s in conversation with someone in person or with the distant listeners off in the future it’s still just a conversation, about topics and experiences of your life. One experience at a time, combined to tell the story of your life in it’s entirety. But where to start?

As mentioned previously in Conversational Interview Technique,  the topics should be in roughly chronological order allowing each topic, as it’s encountered to run it’s course then return to the timeline to pick up where you left off with a new topic. The trick is to have a long list of topics to talk about the tell of your life and engage the listener. We’ll cover the subject of the topics that the listeners are interested in a future episode but lets look at what are the subjects of a life story and how to generate that list of prompts.

Collect prompts for conversations

There are two main ways to drive the generation of prompts and topics for a conversation:

  1. Chronological contemplation
  2. Provoked inspiration

Timeline or chronological remembering is where you consider the long list of your life experiences starting with your ancestors and heritage of where they came from and what you know of them that has been passed onto you. Then starting with first memories moving through the experiences of childhood into adulthood and all things that happened on the way. A strategy for working your way through your life chronologically is in Prompts of Your Life Story episode.  This method is particularly good for ensuring that you’ve covered all the topics of your life and haven’t missed anything, however sometimes due to the ordered way of considering all the topics, it may seem a little clinical and dry.

Provoked inspiration is a powerful way of connecting with many of the past experiences by taking you back to not only the memory of the event but particually the emotions at that event and what came of those times that you remember. This is where we use those memory jogs that we all have around us today, sitting on shelves and in drawers ready to remind us of our past.

Remembering a birth date is one memory, seeing the birth photos is an entirely different thing.

Topic reminders are all around you

In our homes and those of our relatives is the paraphinilia of our lives, just waiting to be uncovered or just noticed. A wealth of notes can be generated to remember the stories to tell by looking at:

Documents to Prompt Your Life Story

What is the Story that You Remember?

  • Photos
  • Documents – School, work, service, awards, certificates and medical
  • Journals and diaries – own or others
  • Home movies/videos
  • Scrapbooks
  • Memorabilia of holidays
  • Stored items in the attic, basement or relatives homes

Provoking your memory can also be with the use of non personal aids that are available like:

War affects

Impact of Major Events on Your Life

Timeline reminders:

If you want to dig deep into some of the physiological aspects of a life, explore the motivation and intention of each topic. This is wonderful way of revealing the “Why” behind many of life’s choices but this can be confronting and not everyone is willing to open up too much.


  1. Review the prompt timeline in Episode 7
  2. Note the memories that are provoked by considering the items listed above creating topics to talk about
  3. Order the topics into roughly chronologically, thematic order
  4. Work your way through the prompt topics generating the questions or stories of Your Life Story
  5. Use the technique on storytelling to structure your story from the listed topic or
  6. Create some insightful questions to ask
  7. Sit down and start recording with someone else or by yourself

Use some of the ideas in the e-Book Recording Life Stories to help.  Just sign up for it in the side bar form.

Please take the time to help me understand what you’re looking for here is the survey that I mention on this episode.

Please comment below on what techniques you use to jog your memory?

Record or Write, Your or My Life Story Biography

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Music is from

Tony Guerrero

“Dizzy Does It”

from “Blue Room”
(Charleston Square Recordings)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

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