(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:
- Don’t multitask. Be present, be in that moment. Don’t be thinking about other things.
- Don’t pontificate True listening means setting aside yourself, your personal opinions.
- Use open-ended questions. Who/what/where/why/how? Otherwise you’ll get yes/no answers (boring).
- 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.
- If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
- 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.
- Try not to repeat yourself. It’s condescending and it’s boring. Don’t keep rephrasing your point.
- Forget the details. Don’t talk about the days, dates, names. People don’t care.
- 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.
- 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: