How to Have Conversations That Matter

Written by on June 12, 2017 in Breaking Barriers, Self-Awareness

Let's Talk


Chances are you’ve heard all the standard advice on how to communicate, especially if you’ve ever worked in management or sales … 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.

Well, you can forget all of that because it is crap.

At least that’s what professional communicator Celeste Headlee says in her eye-opening TED Talk 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~George Bernard Shaw

Why It’s Worth Watching

If you cringe at the thought of confrontation, if there are people you avoid because you don’t want to talk to them, if you’ve ever struggled to say “no” or with boundaries in general, or if you think you already know all there is to know about communication … you will learn something from this presentation.

In Celeste’s words, challenge yourself to go into every conversation with an attitude that you have something to learn, and then prepare to be amazed.



Celeste Headlee’s impressive credentials include guest hosting a number of NPR shows including “Tell Me More,” “Talk of the Nation,” “Weekend All Things Considered” and “Weekend Edition”. She anchored election coverage for PBS World in 2012 and was a regular guest on CNN. Currently, Celeste is hosting the daily news/talk show, On Second Thought on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

If you enjoyed this presentation and would like to learn more about Celeste’s work please visit her website at

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click here.


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  1. ikechi

    Hi Marquita

    After watching this video, I could see most of my mistakes. When I making a conversation with a person, I can repeat points again and again. This is because I feel that points repeated stick very much.

    Thanks for sharing. I gained a lot of insight. Take care
    ikechi recently posted…The Types of Legacy You Leave Behind With Your AngerMy Profile

  2. Jeri

    More often than not, conversation seems like one person merely waiting for the person talking to finish up so they can then have their turn stating their case. Communication becomes taking turns talking at each other instead of truly listening and advancing the conversation.

  3. Wonderful video! Listening and being ready to be amazed! I agree that everyone is an expert in something.. very appreciative of this post …. thank you 🙂
    Lesly Federici recently posted…Catch Yourself When Your Mind is SpiralingMy Profile

  4. Hi Marquita,
    Celeste Headlee’s Ted Talk was fantastic. So very true, we do not listen to each other. Her 10 points were great, love her humor too. Conversational competence and coherent conversation. Just be interested in the person you are speaking to and they will feel it. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who really was listening to you? Then you understand what she was talking about in her talk.Great share.

  5. Really liked the video on conversation. I have always believed that if we could just stop and truly listen to each other, so many negatives in our world could be avoided. I am a big fan of Steven Covey’s work and she quotes Covey. So, in my view, she is on the right track here. There is a quote: “Listening is so close to being loved that most people can’t tell the difference.” People need to love and be loved; conversate.
    Marvin Dittfurth recently posted…QuestionsMy Profile

  6. Emily

    I am not from America and I have left my teens haha but can definitely relate to texting friends as opposed to talking to them. I only talk to one person on the phone daily and the others are usually just parents or sister needing to ask a quick question. Though I do try to see my friends face to face a few times a week instead of just messaging.
    Emily recently posted…The Positive Side of Negative ThinkingMy Profile

  7. Joy Healey

    Great tips, thanks.

    I KNOW that my worst fault is a wandering mind – and Celeste’s explanation of why is fascinating.

    My second worst fault is repeating myself. I see that glazed look come across my sons’ faces, and they say.. “Yes, you said”. I am trying hardest to eliminate that one.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark
    Joy Healey recently posted…Review of Listbuilding With Padlock IncomeMy Profile

  8. Sue Bride

    The TED talk was fascinating and entertaining. I particularly appreciated the point that all experiences are individual, and to listen rather than recount your own experience.
    I’m going to keep in mind the phrase “prepare to be amazed” because I agree that we can learn something from anyone.
    Sue Bride recently posted…Outsource Explosion, Theme Change, PAC Knows BookMy Profile

  9. Kristina

    I love it! Indeed, you should always start a conversation with an open mind and desire to learn. Sometimes it is not easy to avoid early judjments and first impressions but I guess it is worth trying

  10. Elise Cohen Ho

    Fabulous information. Being present is the #1 key to communication, in my opinion.
    Elise Cohen Ho recently posted…What Can We Learn From Dad?My Profile

  11. Lenie

    Hi Marty – I love the idea of going into a conversation by wanting to learn something. Too often we don’t really hear what someone is saying because we are so eager to jump in and share our views. (I couldn’t watch the video because my speakers don’t work).

  12. She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

    I will comment on the post later ..I think it will be great, but this rings so true to tone I just can’t help applauding this in your profile.
    Marvin Dittfurth recently posted…QuestionsMy Profile

  13. Mark

    Talk about hitting it out of the park M!

    Celeste-s ten tips are really spot
    on and eye opening!

    Especially # ten!LOL! It’s amazing how much incredibly
    practical knowledge, she shared in such a short
    period of time!

    And she made it crystal clear, what we can and
    definitely need to do, in order to improve!

    Thanks for sharing her highly informative and entertaining video!
    Mark recently posted…The Main Reason Your Small Business Has To Know What A Lead Is Really Worth!My Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the talk Mark! I vividly recall those same old school rules being drilled into our heads when I first went into sales so I couldn’t agree more with her about there being a better way. Thanks for contributing to the conversation my friend. 🙂

  14. Chery Schmidt

    Hello Marty! I just loved Celeste’s Ted Talk! She is a Hoot! How to talk and how to listen! Loved all 10 of her tips !!
    Great share…
    Thanks Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Automate Your Instagram Posts With OnlyPultMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the presentation, Chery. When I first came across this talk I watched it a couple of times and decided it was just too good not to share. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Donna Merrill

    Hi Marquita,
    Celeste’s presentation is amazing. I like her advice of being present. So many times we go into a conversation with our mind wandering on something else. Or how about those folks who you talk to and notice that they didn’t hear a word you have said because the response is off the charts lol.

    I also like #6 whereby you don’t equate your experience with them. OMG How annoying is that in a conversation?

    All in all I do have to say that listening is an art. If we really listen to a person, we just might find something wonderful.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Importance of Taking Action in Sales When a Lead Shows InterestMy Profile

    • Great points Donna! I’d love to say I’ve never been guilty of the “DND” things she listed but I’d be a big fat liar, and yes, I am definitely guilty of sharing my stories! I plan to work on that one. 🙂

  16. Phoenicia

    Communication works both ways. Both parties should walk away knowing they have connected and werķe listened to. If this is not the case then there has clearly been a breakdown in communication.

    I struggled with dealing with confrontation. I forced myself not to be “that” person who does not deal with issues immediately. I must say I enjoy watching TED discussions.
    Phoenicia recently posted…What are your values?My Profile

  17. Mandy Allen

    Interesting and true. Long ago I learned that if you go into a conversation wanting to listen you would engage people so much better than going in with an attitude of wanting to put your own point across.

    Enjoy the journey!
    Mandy Allen recently posted…Take A Look Inside Outsource Explosion HereMy Profile

    • That is so true. In Toastmasters, we learn that listening is as important to your communication skills as speaking. There is nothing more frustrating and more counter-productive than to try and have a conversation with someone who doesn’t know how or want to listen!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…tantalize your senses in Fredericton, New BrunswickMy Profile

      • Well said Doreen! Every time you mention Toastmasters it reminds me of how much I enjoyed it when I was a member. I’ll have to see if there’s a chapter near where I live now. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • True Mandy. I did a lot of training my last couple of years in hotel sales and one of the biggest challenges was getting the sales managers to listen to the clients before diving into their sales pitch. Makes a huge difference! Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the conversation. 🙂

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