I am not good a new year's resolutions but every year I do make the same one:
Try to listen more and talk less.
The reason this is a resolution every year is that I find it a real challenge - still better to try and fail than not try at all!
This week I came across this TED talk by Broadcaster Celeste Headlee. Celeste has 10 tips to help us have better conversations.
In short, she explains how to have a conversation without wasting your time, without getting bored and without offending anyone. Effective conversations result in us being engaged, inspired and understood - but it takes effort. Here are her ten top tips. I am determined to work on all of them but number 9 is the key...
10 basic rules to having better conversations:
- Don't multitask - Be present. Be in that moment.
- Don't pontificate - Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn. Set aside your personal prejudice. Everyone you meet knows something you don't!
- Use open-ended questions - who, what, where why. The more complicated your question is the shorter their answer will be. You won't learn much that way.
- Go with the flow - listen and go with their flow. Do not go off on your own tangent.
- If you do not know something; say you do not know.
- Do not equate your experience with theirs - it is not about you. It is about them.
- Try not to repeat yourself - it is boring and annoying.
- Stay out of the weeds - people do not care about the details.
- LISTEN - if your mouth is open you are not learning. It takes proper energy and effort. Try to make the effort. Listen with the intent to learn - not to reply.
- Be brief
Forget the eye contact, nodding, smiling, repeating back what you just heard etc - the best way to look like you are paying attention is to pay attention!
Note to self - 'Be interested in other people. Keep your mouth shut, your mind open and be prepared to be amazed'
When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don't converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. "Go out, talk to people, listen to people," she says. "And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed."