October 29, 2018

Below is a lesson from TED Talk on how to have a better conversation, as well as our key learning.

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.


10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

By Celeste Headlee

Watch the video here.


Key Learnings:

  • Pew Research did a study of 10,000 American adults, and they found that at this moment, we are more polarized, we are more divided, than we ever have been in history. We’re less likely to compromise, which means we’re not listening to each other.
  • According to Pew Research, about a third of American teenagers send more than a hundred texts a day. And many of them, almost most of them, are more likely to text their friends than they are to talk to them face to face.
  • Conversational competence might be the single most overlooked skill we fail to teach. Is there any 21st-century skill more important than being able to sustain coherent, confident conversation?
  • Things like 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. Forget all of that. There is no reason to learn how to show you’re paying attention if you are in fact paying attention.
  • 10 basic rules to have a good conversation:
    1. Don’t multitask. Don’t just set down your cell phone or your tablet or your car keys or whatever is in your hand. Be present. Be in that moment. If you want to get out of the conversation, get out of the conversation, but don’t be half in it and half out of it.
    2. Don’t pontificate. If you want to state your opinion without any opportunity for response or argument or pushback or growth, write a blog. You need to enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn. The famed therapist M. Scott Peck said that true listening requires a setting aside of oneself. And sometimes that means setting aside your personal opinion. He said that sensing this acceptance, the speaker will become less and less vulnerable and more and more likely to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener.
    3. Use open-ended questions. Start your questions with who, what, when, where, why or how. If you put in a complicated question, you’re going to get a simple answer. Let them describe it. They’re the ones that know.
    4. Go with the flow. That means thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind.
    5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know. Err on the side of caution. Talk should not be cheap.
    6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. All experiences are individual. And, more importantly, it is not about you. You don’t need to take that moment to prove how amazing you are or how much you’ve suffered. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.
    7. Try not to repeat yourself. It’s condescending, and it’s really boring, and we tend to do it a lot.
    8. Stay out of the weeds. Frankly, people don’t care about the years, the names, the dates, all those details that you’re struggling to come up with in your mind. What they care about is you. They care about what you’re like, what you have in common.
    9. The most important one: Listen. I cannot tell you how many really important people have said that listening is perhaps the most, the number one most important skill that you could develop. The average person talks at about 225 word per minute, but we can listen at up to 500 words per minute. So our minds are filling in those other 275 words. And look, I know, it takes effort and energy to actually pay attention to someone, but if you can’t do that, you’re not in a conversation.
    10. Be brief.
  • Be interested in other people.
  • Go out, talk to people, listen to people, and, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.

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