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Part 4: Must-Know Information from the 2019 NFDA Convention Sessions

by | Nov 14, 2019 | Funeral Profession

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Weren’t able to attend the 2019 NFDA Convention in Chicago? Or, didn’t have time to attend all the sessions that you wanted to? That’s okay, our content specialists attended many of the sessions to learn what’s trending in the funeral profession.

This is part four of a four-part series about some of the most informative 2019 NFDA Convention sessions.

Be Here Now: Exploring Mindfulness and Meditation

In this session, Kay Glidden and Beth Reynolds-Lewis taught us how to practice mindfulness and meditation.

Different Types of Mediation

Though we typically think of meditation as sitting still, you can also do it through yoga, walking, tai chi, and being in nature. The key is to clear your mind and focus on your breath. Here are the steps to basic meditation:

  1. Sit upright in a comfortable position.
  2. Breath in and out.
  3. Keep your attention on your breath and nothing else.

Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is when we live in the present moment. It helps us be aware, centered, better at enduring pain, and better at solving problems. It also has health benefits like lowered arthritis symptoms, decreased inflammation, decreased anxiety, and better sleep.

Traveling the World: Funerals Past and Present

In her presentation, Caitlin Doughty gave an inside look at some ways other countries handle the overcrowding of cemeteries.


Since Singapore is very overpopulated, they can’t use valuable land space for cemeteries. Instead, they have one active cemetery where they do grave recycling. Typically, the deceased remains in a plot for 15 years and then is removed to make space for a new body to decompose.


To take up less land, they have a hotel-like building for the dead to remain.


Similar to Brazil, they have vertical cemetery buildings. However, they also go underground.

Hong Kong

To compensate for their lack of cemetery land, they have created a prototype for a floating gravesite.


In the United States, we keep our gravesites forever. However, in California, they are beginning to create green cemeteries where we can recycle the land and compensate for more bodies.

New Orleans

New Orleans is famous for its oven crypts. They are above ground, oven-looking vaults. The body goes inside and is left there long enough to decompose. Then, the crypt is open, the bones are pushed to the back and a new casket is put in, and the cycle repeats.


Japan has some high-tech solutions for its lack of cemetery space. They have hotels for dead bodies, where families can visit their loved ones for a few weeks. Japan has the highest cremation rate in the world at 99%, so they have some other facilities where families can honor their loved ones.

The Future

To be prepared for the future, crematories should make their facilities more welcoming to families. This way more people will be open to witness cremations.

Another way to keep up with the lack of space is human composting. It’s already legal in Washington state and will likely be legalized in other states within a few years.

Dancing of the Edge of a Revolution: Helping People and Building a Business in the Connected World

In his keynote presentation, bestselling author Seth Godin highlights the importance of storytelling for businesses.

The New Economy

In the smartphone-era, our economy is rapidly changing. Consumers are constantly flooded with new information and noise, making it hard to stand out from competitors. Attention has become precious since the market is so oversaturated. This has led to businesses needing to shift their marketing practices.

Why Storytelling Works

Nowadays, people buy based on who they are and what they believe in, which is why it’s important for your funeral home to have a story that resonates with families. Families choose a funeral home that stands out from the rest. So ask yourself, what does your funeral home stand for? What services stand out to families? Make your story evident in your marketing efforts.

Don’t Strive to Fit in

When businesses try to appeal to the masses, they become average. Instead, focus on a smaller selection of people and show them why your funeral home is remarkable.


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