(Video link here.) When we find ourselves without the patience or gas to watch a TED talk, we use a trick to glean the great information they often hold: We read the transcript, at our leisure. Celeste Headlee’s 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation offers seriously useful insights about how to hone your communication skills to achieve great conversation: “where you walk away feeling engaged and inspired, or where you feel like you’ve made a real connection or you’ve been perfectly understood.”

We’ve condensed her entire list, including the Crap Advice she advises you forget (below). The most important is Number 9:


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.

Stephen Covey said it very beautifully. He said, “Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply.”

Bill Nye: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.”

I put it this way: Everybody is an expert in something.


It made us think of the great Karl Pilkington quote we read at Nitch:

If I had to give up my mouth or my ears, I’d definitely get rid of my mouth. You learn nothing from your own talking. I know everything I’m going to say, I never surprise myself.



Celeste Headlee’s 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

4.  Go with the flow. Stories and ideas are going to come to you. You need to let them come and let them go so you can keep listening.

5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.

7. Try not to repeat yourself. It’s condescending, and it’s really boring, and we tend to do it a lot.

If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *