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Home » Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation | TED technology conversation

Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation | TED technology conversation

When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

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30 thoughts on “Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation | TED technology conversation”

  1. Celeste Headlee does an excellent job explaining the ins and outs of healthy communication in the world we live today. This video provides a great perspective on how to interact with people. I love the thinking , you can always learn something from everyone. Every person have their wonderful story and they are waiting for a good listener!

    Following are the communication techniques about which Celeste Headlee talks in the video:-

    1.Don’t multi-task – Be present in that moment and don’t think about other things when talking or listening.

    2.Don’t pontificate – Stating your opinions and not willing to listen makes you boring and predictable. Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn. Everybody is an expert in something.

    3.Use open ended questions – Use who, what, where, when and how. If you put in complicated question like “were you terrified?”, people will respond with a simple answer like yes or no. Try asking “what was

    that like? How did that feel?”, this will get people to think about it

    4.Go with the flow – Thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let it go when conversing with people. If you suddenly get an idea of something you want to say, forget it and let it go. Because it will you

    distract you and you’ll be too preoccupied to listen.

    5.If you don’t know, say that you don’t know. Don’t pretend.

    6. Don’t equate your experience . All experiences are individual, don’t use that opportunity to prove how amazing you are or how much you suffered. Don’t make it about

    yourself. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.

    7. Try not to repeat yourself – it’s condescending and boring. When you are making a point don’t rephrase over and over.

    8.Stay out of the weeds – people don’t care about details like the names and dates. People care about you, what you’re are like and what you have in common.

    9.Listen – People can get distracted easily. Average person talks at 225 words per minute but can listen 500 words per minute, so our mind is filling in the rest 275 words. Put in energy and effort to listen..

    10. Be brief – A good conversation is short enough to retain interest but long enough to cover the subject.

  2. In conversation it IS necessary to show the other person that you are paying attention because the person won't know that you are paying attention and may get distracted or lose his/her train of thought if he/she is obsessing whether you are really paying attention or not.

  3. It’s paramount to actively listen and seek to understand when someone is talking to you. I agree with the speaker that most of us does not have intent to understand rather all we do is to reply in a conversation. We need to allow someone to reveal his or her emotions when having a conversation. Truly, the most beautiful thing to give to someone talking is to listen.

  4. Many good points made here but…. Pundits are boring and predictable? Do you realize that you can't even have a conversation unless you have a conversation partner with an opposing viewpoint? Unless there is disagreement there is no conversation. Think about that. Analogous: a plane cannot take flight without some air resistance. It is just lame to say "Those immovable rocks are boring" we have to be proactive in being the irresistible force- that way the paradox is resolved and those immovable, boring "pundit" rocks get JERKED AROUND. As conversationalists we have to take the PROACTIVE stance that WE have to accept the burden of being interesting and have a worthy viewpoint to put forward as opposed to blaming others for how boring they are. You completely contradicted yourself! You say in the same breath that some people are predictable and boring then you say to enter every conversation with attitude of openness to try to learn something. Since you are interested in Stephen Covey- we have to Value The Differences, we can't say "We can learn something from EVERYONE, except pundits, because they are boring."

  5. Interesting ideas for regular, daily conversation, but her presentation begs the question: "What is the difference between a regular conversation and a journalistic interview?" because it sounds like the political realm is excluded from her interviews as a journalist if they all respect her rules of how to have a conversation. And that would seem to diminish the responsibilities of journalism, making it completely apolitical.

  6. She makes great points. But I was disappointed that every expert that she referenced was a man except for her sister and that reference was a rather base joke about women and mini skirts.

  7. Conversation is a balance between listening and talking. This is where the relevance of this presentation stopped, everything else is how you listen to people who haven’t seen this video indoctrinate you for an hour stretch so you leave the conversation angry, and dumped upon. In short this video lacks that balance and is unrealistic.

  8. This advices only works for extroverts or talkative people. Introverts and non-talkative people already doing all these naturally but it doesn't seem work very well. The thing is that you still need a drive to talk to people, without a drive to talk, you will never have a good conversation with anyone.

  9. The person answering the questions is controlled by the
    person asking them. When a person is speaking in answer to a question, fully 100 percent of his focus and attention is on what he is saying; he cannot think of anything else. He is totally controlled by the questioner.

    The power of charm

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