I just listened to a 12 minute speech by NPR Radio Host Celeste Headlee entitled “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.” I’ve never heard of her but love her thoughts. If you’d don’t have 12 minutes to listen here is brief a summary.
- Don’t multi-task. Be present in the moment.
- Don’t pontificate. Enter every conversation as if you have something to learn. If you want to pontificate write a blog :)
- Use open ended questions. Start with who, what, when or why questions.
- Go with the flow. Let thoughts flow into and out of your mind. That is don’t let yourself be distracted by random thoughts.
- If you don’t know then say you don’t know.
- Don’t equate your experience with theirs. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity
- Try not to repeat yourself.
- Stay out of the weeds. People don’t care about dates, times, places. They care about you.
- Listen. While 9th on this list this is the most important. Calvin Coolidge “No man ever listened his way out of a job.”
- Be brief.
Be interested in other people. Ask questions, listen, and be prepared to be amazed.