How To Get Teens Talking

Have you ever had a moment where you’re doing your best to strike up a conversation with a group of teenagers but getting nowhere?  Take heart:  You’re not alone.  And even better:  There’s help available.

In a recent IdeaLab video from YouthSpecialties, Jonathan McKee (author of an awesome book: The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers), shares his top 3 tips for how to get your teenagers talking.  The full video can be found below, but for those of you with short attention spans, here’s my Cliffnotes version:

  1. Turn over-reaction into interaction.  When teens do or say something wrong, and your immediate reaction is to flip out or over-react, what they take away is: “Don’t talk to him.”  Or when you get a glimpse of the music they’re listening to or the videos they’re watching, rather than condemning their “less than Christian” choices, use those videos or songs to start a conversation (and maybe even connect it back to God).
  2. Move from lecturing to listening.  Sometimes we need to just learn to shut up — Create dialogues not monologues.  If we don’t give students a chance to talk, they’ll never be able to ask for help.
  3. Seek conversation springboards.  Figure out what THEY like to talk about.  Music, YouTube videos, sports, etc.

What’s your go-to conversation springboard?

Michael Marchand

Michael is a Catholic evangelist, author and speaker.

After spending 11 years as a parish youth minister, Michael left parish ministry to work full-time with ProjectYM (a ministry he cofounded a few years earlier).

Michael's resume also includes preaching gigs at events and conferences around the world, a Catholic theology degree, authoring a book on Catholic evangelization, years of training and consulting with parish/diocesan leaders on technology and social media, countless online projects, and the founding of 2 ProjectYM mission bases: one in Uganda and one in Chattanooga, TN.

Michael is blessed to be part of an amazing missionary family. Michael, his beautiful wife (Crystal) and four kids serve the local Church in Chattanooga, TN.


Michael Marchand


Michael is a Catholic evangelist, author and speaker.

After spending 11 years as a parish youth minister, Michael left parish ministry to work full-time with ProjectYM (a ministry he cofounded a few years earlier).

Michael's resume also includes preaching gigs at events and conferences around the world, a Catholic theology degree, authoring a book on Catholic evangelization, years of training and consulting with parish/diocesan leaders on technology and social media, countless online projects, and the founding of 2 ProjectYM mission bases: one in Uganda and one in Chattanooga, TN.

Michael is blessed to be part of an amazing missionary family. Michael, his beautiful wife (Crystal) and four kids serve the local Church in Chattanooga, TN.



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