Frazer Blog

Part 2: Inside Look at Informative 2018 ICCFA Convention Workshops

by | Apr 25, 2018 | Funeral Profession

meeting with sticky notes

Couldn’t make it to Las Vegas for the 2018 ICCFA Convention? Or didn’t have time to attend all the workshops you wanted to? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with these highlights from some of our favorite workshops we attended!

This is part two of a four-part series about some of the eye-opening 2018 ICCFA Convention workshops.

Music: An Important Bridge Between Ritual, Healing, and Remembrance

One underrated grieving method that many people benefit from is music. Presenter Dianne Gray explained how music can help people grieve and honor someone’s memory.

Music is one of the most meaningful and easily accessible grieving tools that your families can use to heal. Whether it’s songs about grief, their loved one’s favorite songs, or the griever’s favorite music, it helps bring out emotion. Those grieving should listen to whatever music they like and whatever helps them grieve and honor their loved one.

Additionally, music has many other benefits that help those grieving, including:

  • Improving their mood and overall mental health.
  • Boosting their energy level.
  • Reducing their stress.

Plus, walking in nature also has the same benefits as music, so why not do both? And it’s free! Those grieving can easily find music to listen to while going for a walk.

Some ways your funeral home can help families grieve through music are by:

  • Putting together playlists of songs for grieving and songs for specific music genres.
  • Suggesting apps to download on their phones to listen to music or stress-relieving sounds.
  • Hosting a community event with a local band where those grieving can come together.

Build a Highly Engaged Workforce

For your funeral home to be successful, your staff needs to work together to accomplish your goals. By following the four rooms of success presented by Cate Collins — credibility, communication, collaboration, and consistency — your funeral home can build a highly engaged workforce.

Credibility: Are you being fully present for your employees? Your mind shouldn’t be somewhere else. Understandably, this can be difficult with everything going on from funeral services to community events. But if you aren’t fully present for your employees, they’ll notice, and you may hurt your credibility with them. Show them you care by listening and being fully present. Plus, you’ll be more productive if you’re completely focused on the task at hand.

Communication: An effective communication rule is the 80/20 rule — which involves 80% listening and 20% sharing. Actively listen, be supportive of their responses, and provide your thoughts when it makes sense. Also, since in-person meetings aren’t always possible, have an effective online communication tool for your funeral home’s staff.

Collaboration: As the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work.” Your funeral home’s staff can accomplish so many more high-quality tasks by working together as a team. Schedule regular staff meetings where everyone can collaborate on innovative ideas for creating meaningful funerals and grieving experiences.

Consistency: Being consistent with the high-quality work your funeral home’s staff provides is key to running a successful funeral home. This includes ongoing training on new services you offer, face-to-face annual reviews, employee happiness surveys, and other ways you can give and receive valuable feedback to better your funeral home.

Who Is Really Killing Your Business? When to Adapt and What to Combat

It’s no secret that cremation and technology are two major trends changing the funeral profession. By implementing these trends into your practices, you can continue to create meaningful funeral experiences. However, presenters John Bolton and Lori Salberg shared how the media’s interpretation of cremation and other funeral trends may give families skewed perceptions of the value of a meaningful funeral.

As you know, for families who choose cremation, ash scatterings are becoming increasingly popular. They like the idea of scattering their loved one’s ashes in a special place that they loved. The media has picked up on this trend as well, and ash scatterings have been shown throughout TV shows, movies, and even commercials. However, viewers watching these may not understand the value of a funeral. They may think they can choose direct cremation, have their family scatter the ashes, and be done with it.

It’s up to your funeral home educate your families and community about the value of funeral services and how it’s crucial to the grieving process. Without a proper funeral service to honor their life, those grieving can struggle to accept the death and have a healthy healing process. One way to educate your community is to have a free event that talks about the value of funerals. You also can partner with local organizations — such as hospice centers and nursing homes — to educate families about the value of the funeral experience.

Lead from the Front

Keynote speaker Colonel David Sutherland applied his leadership skills from his time in the U.S. Army to the funeral profession. Funeral directors can learn from his stories and leadership tips to better themselves and their funeral home.

Like those serving our country, funeral directors need to be leaders in the face of trauma and death. Families who’ve lost a loved one are experiencing some of the worst days of their life, and they turn to your funeral home to help them through the funeral experience. But it doesn’t have to end there; by leading your families through the funeral planning process, their grief journey, and memorialization, you can help them find meaning in life again.

Sutherland also described how passion and leadership go hand in hand. You can learn about how to be a successful leader, but passion is something that can’t be taught. If you don’t have passion and care about what you’re doing, then you can’t truly lead. But funeral directors are some of the most passionate people who care deeply about their families and creating meaningful experiences. By channeling this passion, you can lead your funeral home’s staff and your families to make a difference in their lives.

What were your favorite 2018 ICCFA Convention workshops? Share them with us in the comments!


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