Good conversation is the key to developing any meaningful interaction with other human beings. Whether it be an interaction with a person that you are trying to persuade or merely an interaction with a person that you would like to get to know, the conversation is the key. Despite this basic fact, conversation seems to be something we struggle with as human beings. Arguably, the struggle has gotten worse in the age of social media. I cannot tell you the number of times I have watched a room full of GenZs sit quietly glued to their phone instead of engaging and interacting with one another. As a member of Gen X, I will admit, texting has become my primary means of communication. But as a result, I know that I am missing valuable opportunities to maintain my gift of conversation. So, I have decided to be more intentional about actually opening my mouth to talk to people lately.
I recently came across a TED Talk entitled 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation by Celeste Headlee. Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist, professional speaker, and best-selling author. Her Ted Talk has been viewed over 4 million times, so I knew I had to check it out to see what all of the hype was about. She is definitely an engaging and entertaining speaker. In 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation, Headlee provides 10 basic rules to a better conversation.
Are you curious about your conversation skills based upon Headlee’s rules? Here are her 10 rules. How many would you say you are good at?
I am guilty of multitasking during my conversations with my children. They know me so well that when I am doing it, they will ask me to repeat what they said to prove that no matter how great I think I am at multitasking, it doesn’t work.
Multitasking signals to a person that you do not care about what they have to say so DON’T DO IT.
Pontificators bore me to tears PLAIN AND SIMPLE. These are the know it alls in the room that didn’t come to meet new people and learn new things. They come with the idea that people should want to meet them and learn from them.
Use open ended questions
If you don’t, the conversation is boring because you are controlling it and not really getting to know a person. They are simply giving you basic answers to your narrow question.
Go with the flow
That’s self-explanatory right?
If you don’t know, say that you don’t know
Not knowing something is not a sign of ignorance, in my opinion, but acting as if you know something that you don’t IS.
Don’t equate your experience with theirs
Stay away from the “oh, that happened to me too” when someone shares an experience with you.
Try not to repeat yourself
I AM HORRIBLE AT THIS! Judges have dressed me down a number of times in court because I feel like I need to tell them 10 different ways, 10 different times why they need to rule in my favor.
Stay out of the weeds
How many times have you tried to remember dates, names, and other details so that you can sound more knowledgeable? You now have permission to stop because noone really cares.
I am a good listener and tend to attract people that love talking about themselves. Not sure how well that is working for me, but…
I am working on this one. LOL!
Anywho, for those of you that are now really interested in seeing what Celeste Headlee had to say, here you go. Hope you enjoy!