Whether it is your interviewer, client, friend, manager, or a stranger, there are lots to learn from a great conversation – motivation, inspiration, a sense of genuine connection that can pave way for a fulfilling relationship. Today, almost all the jobs in every domain require candidates who can communicate and converse well.
The conversation that comes so naturally, is becoming a dying art nowadays. Talking and listening to people – two most important things have changed radically in today’s generation. Interference by technology has made us more anti-social and poor in conversation and listening skills. Celeste Headlee who has worked as a Radio Host for decades beautifully brings out in her insightful talk how to maintain and develop the lost art of conversation.
So, here it goes!
“Look the person in the eye, think of interesting topics to discuss in advance, look, nod and smile to show that you’re paying attention, repeat back what you just heard or summarize it. So I want you to forget all of that. It is crap.” She brings some real and basic tips, which if followed can bring the exact result that you ever wanted from a particular conversation. And, that too in just 12 minutes!
#1. Don’t Multitask: Like never! Be present. Don’t think about anything else. Be in that moment. Never try to be half in and half out.
#2. Don’t Pontificate: Set aside your personal opinions. She raises her eyebrows and says, ” If you want to state your opinion without any opportunity for response or argument or pushback or growth, write a blog.”
#3. Use open-ended questions: Questions like, “What was it like?” or “How did it make you feel?” provoke more insightful responses.
#4. Go with the flow: It is important to let go of certain points that pop into your mind. Jumping or sticking to the old points stops the conversation take it natural course.
#5. Say I don’t know if you don’t: It is indeed tempting to say yes to something that you are not aware of. But, it better to say “No” than look stupid.
#6. Don’t equate your experience with the person you are conversing: All experiences are different. And, most importantly, it is not about you. You don’t need to prove how amazing you are or how much you’ve dealt with.
#7. Do not repeat yourself: Especially in the interviews and work related conversations. Trust me, it is really boring.
#8. Don’t get lost in the details: The person conversing with you is not interested in the numbers and dates, what interests him/her is you. So, cut the details and make yourself interesting!
#9. Listen: “If your mouth is open, you’re not learning.”- Buddha. She adds that it takes an extra effort to pay attention and listen to someone. You should always listen with the intent to understand rather than with an intent to reply.
#10. Be Brief: A good conversation is like a miniskirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject.
Headlee’s talk is not all about speaking to people on a professional level, but on a personal, compassionate level as well. Everybody is an expert in something. You get to learn from every single person you talk with. So, Go out, talk to people, listen to people, and, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed. One of the most enlightening and effective talk on conversation skills. Have a look.
About the Speaker: Celeste Headlee hosts a daily news/talk show, On Second Thought, on Georgia Public Broadcasting. She has worked in public radio since 1999, as a reporter, host, and correspondent. She was the Midwest Correspondent for NPR before becoming the co-host of the PRI show “The Takeaway.” Headlee holds multiple degrees in music and still performs as a professional opera singer.