How to have a better conversation.

How to have a better conversation

01 Sep 2016
10 tips from talk show host Celeste Headlee that will change your life.

Ever had a conversation with a boss, co-worker, friend or significant other that left you feeling dissatisfied? Read on, fellow human.

There are some TED talks everyone on Earth should watch, and we think Celeste Headlee’s talk entitled “10 ways to have a better conversation” is one of those (watch it below). Talk show host Headlee has worked in public radio since 1999, as a reporter, host and correspondent. Headlee’s lecture is full of points you’ll want to paste into your email auto-signature, laminate and hand out at your next brainstorm, and post on your social media profile.

It’s only 12 minutes—but since every 12 minutes of your day is likely overscheduled (see point number one below), here are the highlights.


1. Dont multitask

This applies to distractions in your hands, like your phone, as much as distractions in your brain, like what to eat for lunch. Turn those off.


2. Dont pontificate

We’ll leave it at that.


3. Channel your inner journalist and use open-ended questions

Yes or no questions and answers stop conversations.


4. Go with the flow

“That means thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind.” Buh-bye, thoughts.  


5. If you dont know, say that you dont know

We don’t know the meaning of life. There. We said it.


6. Dont equate your experience with theirs

“It is not about you. You don't need to take that moment to prove how amazing you are or how much you've suffered. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.”


7. Try not to repeat yourself

“It's condescending, and it's really boring… We have a point to make, so we just keep rephrasing it over and over. Don't do that.”


8. Stay out of the weeds

If you’re serving on a jury, the details matter. If you’re in a conversation with a colleague or client, the names, dates and details don’t matter as much as the point you’re trying to make.


9. Listen

“The average person talks at about 225 word per minute, but we can listen at up to 500 words per minute. So our minds are filling in those other 275 words.” That means that we have to actively try to listen. “Stephen Covey said it very beautifully. He said, ‘Most of us don't listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply.’”


10. Be brief

That’s all.


Watch the video here:




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