28 June 2016

Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation

"There is no reason to learn how to show you're paying attention if you are in fact paying attention."

Instead of trying to show you are paying attention, Headlee suggests these 10 steps to have deeper, more interesting conversations:

  1. Do not multitask. If you do not want to have a conversation, then get out of the conversation.
  2. Do not pontificate. "Write a blog instead," she proclaims. Go into the conversation assuming you have something to learn. [Daniel's thought: If you have nothing to learn, why are you wasting your time talking?]
  3. Ask open ended questions.[Daniel's thought: But not too opened. "Tell me a bit about yourself" is terrible because it is overwhelming in its enormity. Try something more manageable such as, "What are a few highlights of your life is the past couple of years?"]
  4. Go with the flow. Let thoughts come into your mind then flow right on out. Otherwise you will likely miss some really interesting stories.
  5. Admit when you do not know.
  6. Do not equate your experience with theirs, no matter how similar your experience has been.
  7. Try to not repeat yourself, including rephrasing. [Daniel's thought: This is fairly difficult, especially when opinions are being thrown around; but people do sound pretty dumb when they just keep saying the same thing over and again.]
  8. Stay out of the weeds. Details like dates and names, unless critical to the story, just detract from the focus.
  9. Listen. Headlee quotes Calvin Coolidge, "No man ever listened his way out of a job." If you are not listening, then "you're just two people shouting barely related sentences," she quipped.
  10. Be brief.

Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation

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