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Better Conversation

Updated: Mar 20, 2018

If you’re anything like me, when you watch a TED Talk you can’t stop at just one! One recent evening, I started by watching a talk about procrastination, but that quickly turned into a spiral of watching several talks in one sitting. I guess the procrastination talk didn’t hit home! However, that marathon session led me to the topic of better conversation. We can all be better conversationalists, am I right!?

Celeste Headlee has worked in public radio since 1999, as a reporter, host and correspondent. She currently hosts a daily news/talk show, On Second Thought, on Georgia Public Broadcasting. To quote from, “Headlee's years of interview experience give her a unique perspective on what makes for a good conversation”.

Check out Celeste's video on 10 ways to have a better conversation. My biggest takeaway is her fourth rule: go with the flow. She suggests that while someone else is speaking during a conversation “you let thoughts come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind”. I always considered myself a good listener, but when she mentioned that we often think of something to say and only half-listen to the other person until we have a chance to voice it, that really hit home. I have found myself doing just that more times than I’d like to admit in the days following, but have tried to control my impulse to speak and, instead, continue to fully listen to others during a conversation. We don’t always have to say what comes to mind, what a revelation!

Don’t you love walking away from a conversation feeling engaged and inspired? Hopefully you find value in Ms. Headlee’s ten rules as well! I’m trying to master number four, although I can certainly benefit from all of her tips on conversational competence.

Frances Maus

Posted: 3/22/2016

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