Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation
The term “conversation” does imply two way talking and sharing; but, not at the same time of course. The problem is that often conversations are nothing more than two people taking turns talking while giving different speeches. Stephen R. Covey observes that: “most don’t listen to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.” That won’t do if you really want to “talk” to a teen and NPRs Celeste Headlee tells you why… along with how to do it more effectively.
Talk To Teens and other people
You just heard Celeste Headlee of NPR assert that: “Actually talking TO teens is easy, it’s having them listen while you’re doing it that takes some amount of skill.” And it’s absolutely true, you can talk to teens if you know the rules.
Ms. 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. She shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”
When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, she tells us, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Since 1999 she has worked in public radio as a reporter, host and correspondent for NRP and on shows like “talk of the Nation,” “All things considered” and “Weekend Edition.” In addition she still sings professional opera and is a granddaughter of composer William Grant Still.
The 10 “takeaways” – Talk To Teens
1- Don’t multi-task; be in the moment, don’t be half in.
2- Don’t pontificate – assume there’s something you can learn. Bill Nye says: “everyone you meet knows something that you don’t.”
3- Use open ended questions – who, what, where, when why. DON’T USE: “did you feel terrified?” DO USE: “how did that feel?”
4- Go with the flow. Thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them GO right out of it. Your own thoughts (experiences) are distractions.
5- If you don’t know, say that you don’t know. NPR knows they are accountable for everything they say, talk shouldn’t be cheap. You are accountable for what you claim.
6- Don’t equate YOUR experience with theirs. If they lost a family member, don’t start talking about loosing yours. They are NOT the same, and this is not about you. Someone asked Stephen Hawking what his IQ was. He responded “I have no idea, people who brag about IQ are losers.”
7- Try not to repeat yourself, it’s condescending and it’s really boring.
8- Stay out of the weeds of your experiences. People don’t care about the names, dates, places or the specifics of things that you struggle to remember anyway. People don’t care, forget about your details.
9- Listen – (not the last but the most important) Calvin college said “no man ever listened himself out of a job.” When I’m talking I’m in control, I’m center of attention. It Takes effort and energy to actively pay attention to someone; but if you can’t do that, you’re not having a conversation.
10- Be brief
Headlee reveals: I keep my mouth shut as much as I can, I keep my mind open, and I’m always prepared to be amazed. She had a Famous grandpa. People came from all over to talk with him. Afterward her mom would come to her and ask: “do you know who that was?” She said that “I grew up thinking everyone has some hidden amazing thing about them.”