Best ingredients of a great conversation with anybody by Celeste Headlee (Positive Story and Positive Learning )

 Best ingredients of a great conversation with anybody by  Celeste Headlee (Positive Story and Positive Learning )

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 useful rules for having better conversations. 

Now, I make my living talking to people.

Nobel Prize winners, truck drivers, billionaires,

kindergarten teachers, heads of state, plumbers.

I talk to people that I like.

I talk to people that I don't like.

I talk to some people that I disagree with deeply on a personal level.

But I still have a great conversation with them.

So I have 10 basic rules.

I'm going to walk you through all of them, but honestly,

if you just choose one of them and master it,

you'll already enjoy better conversations.

Number one: Don't multitask.

And I don't mean just set down your cell phone or your tablet

or your car keys or whatever is in your hand.

I mean be present.

Be in that moment.

Number two: Don't pontificate.

If you want to state your opinion without any opportunity

for response or argument or pushback or growth,

write a blog.

Number three: Use open-ended questions.

Start your questions with who, what, where, when, why or how.

If I ask you, "Were you terrified?"

you're going to respond to the most powerful word

in that sentence, which is "terrified,"

and the answer is, "Yes, I was," or "No, I wasn't."

Try asking them things like, "What was that like?"

"How did that feel?"

Because then they might have to stop for a moment

and think about it,

and you're going to get a much more interesting response.

Number four: Go with the flow.

That means thoughts will come into your mind

and you need to let them go out of your mind.

Number five: If you don't know, say that you don't know.

Err on the side of caution.

Talk should not be cheap.

Number six: Don't equate your experience with theirs.

It's not the same.

It is never the same.

All experiences are individual.

And, more importantly, it is not about you.

Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.

Number seven: Try not to repeat yourself.

It's condescending, and it's really boring, and we tend to do it a lot.

Number eight: Stay out of the weeds.

Frankly, people don't care about the years, the names, the dates,

all those details that you're struggling to come up with in your mind.

They don t care.

What they care about is you.

Number nine: This is not the last one,

but it is the most important one.


Buddha said, and I'm paraphrasing,

"If your mouth is open, you're not learning."

It takes effort and energy to actually pay attention to someone,

but if you can't do that, you're not in a conversation.

You're just two people shouting out barely related sentences

in the same place.

One more rule, number 10, and it's this one:

Be brief.

All of this boils down to the same basic concept, and it is this one:

Be interested in other people.

I keep my mouth shut as often as I possibly can,

I keep my mind open, and I'm always prepared to be amazed,

and I'm never disappointed.

You do the same thing.

Go out, talk to people, listen to people, and most importantly,

be prepared to be amazed.

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