The new book, WE NEED TO TALK (HarperWave) invites readers to learn how to have conversations that matter. Public radio journalist, Celeste Headlee has written a book based on the TED Talk she gave and has been viewed over 10-million times. Headlee’s goal is to help the conversationally-challenged to become a better person – spouse, friend and mother.
A quick side note, I couldn’t help but remember Joan Rivers and her signature, “Can we talk?” when I read the cover.
Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals.
And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In WE NEED TO TALK, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist—and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication. For example:
BE THERE OR GO ELSEWHERE. Human beings are incapable of multitasking, and this is especially true of tasks that involve language. Think you can type up a few emails while on a business call, or hold a conversation with your child while texting your spouse? Think again.
CHECK YOUR BIAS. The belief that your intelligence protects you from erroneous assumptions can end up making you more vulnerable to them. We all have blind spots that affect the way we view others. Check your bias before you judge someone else.
HIDE YOUR PHONE. Don’t just put down your phone, put it away. New research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can negatively impact the quality of a conversation.
Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your kid’s teacher at school, an employee at work, or the people you love the most, Headless includes smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.
I particularly appreciated Headlee’s advice to when meeting with someone, or sitting down to talk, don’t only silent your phone, but put it away. Most of us will keep trying to secretly see if we’ve received a text, call or email. Such a simple choice, shows respect for whoever you’re communicating with. Who knows, maybe the conversation will extend and you might learn something.
Celeste Headlee is the host of the daily news show On Second Thought on Georgia Public Broadcasting. She has spent more than a decade with National Public Radio and has been a host for Public Radio International since 2008. Celeste has appeared on CNN, the BBC, PBS, and MSNBC. She’s also a classically trained soprano who doesn’t get enough time to sing anymore. She has one son and one rescue dog, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Harper Wave, we have one copy of WE NEED TO TALK to giveaway. Just tell us if you find conversations easy or tough? How do you handle them?
We’ll announce a winner next week.