Celeste Headlee lays it out clearly in her excellent TED Talk.

Watch on YouTube >

  1. Don’t multitask. Be present in the moment.
  2. Don’t pontificate. Keep those opinions to yourself, and be prepared to learn from others.
  3. Use open-ended questions. Instead of “were you angry?”, try “how did you feel?”.
  4. Go with the flow. Don’t let your mind wander trying to think of interesting things to say.
  5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know. Speaks for itself.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. Every experience is unique. Instead of trying to relate, let it be about the other person.
  7. Try not to repeat yourself. Just don’t repeat yourself.
  8. Stay out of the weeds. People don’t care about the details. They care about you.
  9. Listen. It’s critical. Close your mouth and listen up.
  10. Be brief.

10 Ways to Have Better Conversation | Celeste Headlee / TED Talks

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