Ten Ways to have a Better Conversation by Celeste Headlee (The Top Ten…
Ten Ways to have a Better Conversation
by Celeste Headlee
"Keep your mouth shut, eyes open and prepare to be amazed."
Sometimes, it feels great to just be listened to.
Give other people your full attention.
Be interested in other people.
With a stranger.
With the authorities.
With a student.
With a teacher or instructor.
With an employer.
With a partner or spouse.
“Is there any 21st century skill more important than being able to sustain coherent, competent conversation?”
“Conversational competence might be the single most overlooked skill we fail to teach.”
“Technology, smartphones and texting.”
“We’re not listening to each other. A conversation requires a balance between talking and listening.”
“We’re less likely to compromise.”
“Even the most trivial of issues have someone passionately fighting both for and against it.”
“Every conversation has the potential to devolve into an argument.”
The Top Ten Rules
10. Be brief.
“Most of us don’t listen to understand, we listen to get a reply.”
We’d rather talk because we: like to control the conversation, get attention, bolster our identity.
“No man ever listened his way out of a job.”
8. “Stay out of the weeds”.
Peppering your conversation with details is fine but only if it benefits your listener, not your own peace of mind.
You don’t need to back yourself up with name, dates and details, exist in the moment.
7. Try not to repeat yourself.
Don’t rephrase your same point over and over.
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs.
Conversations are not a promotional activity!
You don’t need to take that moment to prove how amazing you are, and how you’ve suffered.
All experiences are individual. It is not about you.
5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
Air on the side of caution.
4. Go with the flow.
Force unrelated questions, stories and ideas you have out of your mind so you can listen to and respect what the other person is saying.
2. Don’t pontificate
to speak or write and give your opinion about something as if you knew everything about it and as if only your opinion was correct
Pundits are predictable and boring.
Enter any conversation assuming you have something to learn!
“True listening requires a setting aside of oneself.”
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.” - Bill Nye.
3. Use open ended questions.
Use who, what, where, when, why and how to ask effective questions; and to get a much more interesting response.
1. Don’t multitask.
If you want to get out of the conversation, get out of the conversation.