If you take a good look around, you’ll find that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of buzz worthy conversations happening about death… right now.
Death has become a bigger topic in the media than we expected it to be over the last couple of years.
This is GREAT news for our profession.
But for some reason, we don’t see a connection between funeral homes, and all of these buzzy death conversations taking place…
So where is the disconnect? We went on a mission to find out.
Why the funeral profession is not leading these conversations (yet)
We asked our audience of nearly 20,000 on Facebook on taking part in conversations about topics like grief. Many responded by saying “it’s not our job” or “we already do too much” or the most common one which is “ we’re just too busy”.
We know that these aren’t just cheap excuses. We realize that the role of a funeral director is not an easy one. But what if we started to shift the focus all together from the dead, to the life lived?
Of course, the business of death is a necessary job to do. But people don’t want to buy burial and disposition methods. They want to buy value, and inspiration. They want to buy emotional states. They want to buy things that are going to improve their life (AND their death).
What if instead of selling cold, hard logistics, we started empowering people to die as well as they live? If this shift happened, we would be owning these conversations naturally. And in our opinion, we’d be a whole lot better off financially, too.
So how to start taking part in these conversations?
First, check out the 5 topics we’ve noticed on our radar over the last few years that we think might be worth jumping in on… and after, we’ll share some ways on how to actually get started!
1. Green funerals
This topic is already becoming quite saturated, but green funerals are a trend that is clearly not going away anytime soon. With increasing environmental concerns and “going green”, the interest in green funerals will also naturally increase. We love seeing new ideas to make funerals more green emerge, and can really see this industry booming.
2. Alternative disposition methods
If there’s one conversation that’s exciting the public at the moment, it’s all the innovation happening with the disposition of our dead. Some of the biggest thought leaders in this realm are talking about everything from mushroom burial suits to human re-composting. Lots of cool things happening in this space!
3. Unique celebrations
Over the last decade, funeral personalization has blown up. More and more, it’s becoming apparent that people want to tell their own unique story. Many companies and non-profit companies have taken note of this and are creating platforms for these stories to be told, shared, and stores on. Initiatives like Talk of a Lifetime, Your Last Will and Final Wish are just some named that are leading this space at the moment.
4. The conversation about death
Death Cafe’s have become quite the trend in recent years, inspiring the collective to change the way we look at and relate to death. And many of these Death Cafes have become quite popular culturally, which shows a major interest and need for them.
But this isn’t the only way to change the way we talk about death. Many Buddhists and other spiritual practitioners are having these conversations as well – just in a different context than the mainstream ideas about death. The point being, people are talking about death, and even more, people WANT to talk about death more. So, it’s time to start owning this conversation.
5. Changing the way we grieve
We recently discovered a Ted Talk that rejected the traditional 5 stages of grief, and instead proposed a new way of dealing with loss. This talk inspired us to think about the ways that funeral directors can start owning their opinions about grief from their own experiences. If there is one profession that knows grief in a very real and experiential way, it’s funeral directors. And owning that knowledge should come easily.
Where you can start leading these conversations today
There are plenty of ways you can start leading these conversations in your community, online, and on a large scale.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Start answering questions on Quora related to the death topics you’re most passionate like funerals, death and dying and burial.
- Join Reddit and take part in interesting threads like “Ask a Funeral Director”.
- Host Death Cafe’s at your funeral home.
- Do live Q&A sessions on Facebook, or just go live on a topic you’re passionate about.
- Start a blog on your funeral home website, once and for all!
- Or, submit articles into larger blogs and media sites… maybe even Forbes!
- Create a Youtube Channel and ask your social media audience and families what they’d like to learn more about for content inspiration.
- Reach out to the thought leaders already having these conversations and interview them for your blog or website.
- Or, collaborate with these thought leaders for an event or article.
- Reach out and pitch an idea to a well known podcast, and maybe they’ll do an interview with you!
- Take the big leap, and apply to speak at a TedX conference!
In the end, it’s all about putting yourself out there…
Strategy and perfection can come later, but for now, just focus on being seen! Once you’re putting yourself out there and building momentum, people will listen and follow you. Whatever you do, don’t hide anymore. Why? Because no one can hear your message or wisdom if you’re whispering it to no one!
Get out there, funeral director, and own the space that you have wisdom in. Once we as a profession do this, magic will ensue. We feel it. It’s already happening. Time to tap into it. Good luck.
What conversations do you want to start owning at your funeral home and in your community? What ideas do you have? Tell us in the comments below!