Communication Skills: 10 Tips From Celeste Headlee to Have Better Conversations by Bri Montoya

Career Relationships
6 years ago

Celeste Headlee claims that our current cultural climate has left us more polarized than ever, and these days every conversation has the potential to lead to conflict. I think she’s spot on. Whether we are engaging in conversation via social media, in the office, around the dinner table or at the grocery store, our goal has become proving a point, winning an argument or swaying the other person to our side of the debate. The repercussion is the weakening of our connections to one another versus the strengthening of our connections. 

As we strive for solutions, what can we do? Celeste offers 10 ways to improve your conversational skills:

  1. Don’t multitask.
  2. Enter conversations assuming you have something to learn.
  3. Use open-ended questions.
  4. Go with the flow.
  5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs.
  7. Try not to repeat yourself.
  8. Forget the details.
  9. Listen.
  10. Be brief.

Like all things, we develop our competence through the tried-and-true act of practice, practice and more practice. I am going to start by strengthening my skills at number 6. Where do you plan to start?

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Sarah Aadland
Headlee is masterful. Her new book - "We need to talk" - is a must-read! I've written about this topic in a similar way (but aimed at families) for DoingGoodTogether
Bri Montoya
You're so right. She is so relevant and has so much to offer. I look forward to reading what you wrote!
Donna John
Yes, she is, Sarah Aadland . We'd love for you to share your tips here as well!
Sarah Aadland
Love the encouragement!
Sarah Aadland
Well, to paraphrase myself (that feels odd, doesn't it!) at DoingGoodTogether we believe that facing disagreements with heart and curiosity is a crucial skill to teach our children and ourselves. The good news its a skill we can practice!

My top 3:

Begin with respect. Establish mutual respect before beginning a potentially divisive discussion. As in, "I respect how you (treat others, volunteer, coach, etc.), and I'm curious what you think about (the issue you'd like to get into).”

Also, speak from the heart. Steer your conversation toward personal experience (or factual specifics), rather than learned talking points.

And ultimately, don’t be afraid to disagree. Be an “upstander” for your ideals, even if it means creating a little awkward tension.
Bri Montoya
I love these tips! I think they are such critical steps to teach our kids as we steer them towards navigating the adult world! Thanks for sharing!
Elisa Schmitz
Love this, Sarah Aadland ! Please submit it as a post - it deserves its own space to live, thank you! Donna John
Ann Marie Patitucci
I love this. Thanks for sharing, Bri Montoya ! I think I'll start with #2. Everyone has something to offer and something to teach us. We just have to be open-minded and listen (#9!).
Bri Montoya
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead , #2 is a great one and so important, especially when we are engaging in conversations that may be conflict based!
Elisa Schmitz
Oh, I think many moms do No. 1 constantly! It's something I need to work on, for sure. Can't let "being busy" be the excuse. Thanks for the great tip, Bri Montoya , and welcome to our #30Seconds tribe. So excited to learn and grow with you!
Bri Montoya
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds , thank you so much for the warm welcome. I'm excited to be part of such a positive and driven tribe!
Sheri B Doyle
Oh my gosh, I never thought about how I do #6 and how it distracts from a good conversation. I shared your article with my immediate family who has all been noticing how our communication skills are on the decline in the last 10 years because of SM and texting. Thank you for this article to help us all learn how to be better at listening an communicating. It is a vital skill.
Bri Montoya
Sheri B Doyle , it is so easy to do #6 without even thinking about the impacts it has on our conversations. I'm so glad you took the time to share this with your family and start some good discussion - that's half the battle, right?
Erin Musto
thank you... important read

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