Family Business

Using family meals to facilitate communication


3 min




Listen to BFF Co-Chair Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien explain her experience of using meal times to get her business family in the habit of communicating with one another. Consistent communication with the rising generation will eventually become a habit that can be integrated in the future of the family. Effective communication between family members is a strong foundation for success in the business.




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I think that dining room table is very important. Do not forget those meals together. Where there’s no television going, where we just learn to discuss. And I know that there are a lot of soccer games going on and football and this and that. But I still come back to the fact that the most important time of every day is sitting around the dining room table together, and asking each of you to tell us how was your day? What happened to you today? And if there is something bad, we are all there to support you. Something good, we are all there to be joyous with you, to celebrate. I think that is very important. Everyone has a dining room table even if they do not always use it. They have it and if they just would take a little bit of time. Let us just say, ... View More we are not going to do it every day but let us just say we are going to use it a certain number of times a week. It will make such a difference. Even in a busy CEO’s life, he or she must take the time to come to that table, to sit down, to share with the next generation what happened to them during that day. I remember I was working as a psychologist, Phillip was starting the business, and yet he would come home for the dinner. We would sit together we would all go around, Phillip would talk about his day and each of them would talk about their day. It brought us very close together. We started to understand one another, learned to listen to one another. Now a lot of people said: well I do not know what even to talk about at dinner. And I would say: talk about what kind of a day you had, the good, the bad, and the not so good, whatever. And maybe something wonderful that happened to you today. Then ask each child to do the same. And pretty soon it becomes a habit. I mean my children still do, they come into my office and the first thing they do is sit down and talk to me about their day or talk to me about what’s happening in their lives. It has become a habit. They know I love to hear them, I love to know what is happening in their lives. Whether it is good or it is bad I am there for both. And I think that is what a family can do for each other. So we have to find a place to be able to start that conversation, and the easiest way, I think, is around a dining room table.