TED TALK "10 Ways to Have Better Conversation" by Celeste Headlee

Episode #87
stitcher feel good english

How to Have a Better Conversation

We can all become better conversationalists. And when learning English, you can also focus on improving your communication skills in general. That’s one benefit of learning a foreign language.

In this episode, I share lessons from a Ted Talk called 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.

Focus on what “way” at a time, and become better at not just English, but communicating in general.

The Main Points
  1. Don’t multitask – be present
  2. Don’t pontificate  “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t” (Bill Nye)
  3. Ask open-ended questions – start with who, what, when, where, why or how
  4. Go with the flow – whatever you think of, let it go
  5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs – all experiences are individual – it is NOT about you
  7. Try not to repeat yourself – it’s condescending and boring
  8. Stay out of the weeds
  9. LISTEN – the most important one – “If your mouth is open you’re not learning” (Buddha) – “Nobody ever listened his way out of a job” (Calvin Coolidge)
  10. Be brief

This Episode’s Vocabulary

enlightened – give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation

awkward – causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience

equate – to connect with something that is equal

to be in the weeds – to be stuck, in a  bad situation that is hard to get out of

to leave out = exclude, not include in a larger group

to boil down to – to talk about the main essence or idea of something; the principle point


The Joke 

“So, my husband wanted to leave me because he said, “I talk too much,” but I was able to talk him out of it.”

*to talk (someone) out of something is to CONVINCE them to do something different, usually by talking a lot. So the husband was “talked out of” leaving his wife, by his wife who already talks too much. She never stops talking!! 🙂