Is texting your main form of communication? How to have a conversation face-to-face

(This post is based on a session run as part of Ten Minute Tuesdays.)

Of course, we all have face-to-face conversations every day. But how skilled are we in the art of conversation?

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.”

 

Here are the 10 basic rules Celeste has shared:

  1. Don’t multitask. Be present, be in that moment. Don’t be thinking about other things.
  2. Don’t pontificate  True listening means setting aside yourself, your personal opinions.
  3. Use open-ended questions. Who/what/where/why/how? Otherwise you’ll get yes/no answers (boring).
  4. Go with the flow. While the other person is talking, we remember things about ourselves and then we stop listening because we’re waiting for the opportunity to say our stories. Let them go.
  5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. Don’t talk about your own experiences. All experiences are individual. It is not about you. You don’t need that moment to prove how amazing you are or how much you’ve suffered.
  7. Try not to repeat yourself. It’s condescending and it’s boring. Don’t keep rephrasing your point.
  8. Forget the details. Don’t talk about the days, dates, names. People don’t care.
  9. Listen. If your mouth is open, you’re not learning (Buddha). Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, we listen with the intent to reply.
  10. Be brief.

Be interested in other people. Be prepared to be amazed.

Thanks to those who came to the session; it was great to see your spirited conversations following our discussion after the TED talk. Some photos for your pleasure:

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LittleBits #makerspace – reflection

Updating the makerspace activity. LittleBits have brought different groups of students throughout the day. We could do without the little horn but never mind.

The conversation coming from a group of students tinkering away is an interesting one. I’ve been thinking about the difference between this space and its offered activities and the traditional classroom. The boxes of bits and pieces catches the attention of passing students who might come and see what it’s about. You can almost hear the cogs whirring in the brain as fingers turn bits around to make sense of how each bit works. A relaxed conversation follows, with questioning and ‘what ifs’ going in any direction, free from the confines of predetermined outcomes. The students own the activity. They choose how they stay, whether or not they read the manual.

Experimentation does not involve high-stakes risks. Right and wrong hold no judgement; it’s just a matter of trying a different way if it doesn’t work the first time. And there’s always someone to ask if you’re stuck.

There’s an element of mindfulness here; the activity relaxes as it engages. There is potential to bring together students who have not come together before. And most of all it’s a happy space.

Can we envision this kind of space for a classroom?

Melbourne University librarians visit Melbourne High School Library

Last week we enjoyed a visit from the librarians at the University of Melbourne.

melbunilibrariansvisit

Our connection with the Melbourne Uni librarians is very much appreciated, particularly since we are a 9-12 school with most of our boys going on to tertiary study. It makes sense to have conversations about how we can best support our students in terms of resources and skills in preparation for life beyond school. We have started to link some of our online resources, and we hope to continue the dialogue and sharing to strengthen our relationship. It’s a positive partnership we greatly appreciate.

melbunilibrariansvisit2