How to Have a Good Conversation | Celeste Headlee | TEDxCreativeCoast

  • Added:  2 years ago
  • When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have great conversations – and most of us don’t converse very well. A great conversation requires a balance between talking and listening. This balance is important because bad communication leads to bad relationships, at home, at work, everywhere.

    Celeste Headlee has worked in public radio since 1999, as a reporter, host, and correspondent. She was the Midwest Correspondent for NPR before becoming the co-host of the PRI show The Takeaway. She also guest hosted a number of NPR shows including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, Weekend All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

    Celeste holds multiple degrees in music and still performs as a professional opera singer. She's the granddaughter of composer William Grant Still, the Dean of African American Composers. Celeste is an avid hiker, biker, paddler and dog walker.

    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at
  • Video CategoriesNonprofits & Activism
  • Runtime: 12:7
  • Tags for this video:  TEDxTalks  English  United States  Humanities  Communication  Social Interaction  Work  

Comments: 157

  • Authentic Team Building


  • Sam Lee
    Sam Lee 5 days ago

    why is there a laugh at 2:08 ???

  • Sam
    Sam 20 days ago

    Best ted talk on Earth!! Bravo Mrs. Headlee!!

  • creativefla
    creativefla 23 days ago

    hi everyone, lets talk about flat earth!

  • Brandon Weedon
    Brandon Weedon 1 month ago

    * 10 Conversation Tips
    1. Be Present
    2. Enter ever conversation assuming you have something to learn
    1. True listening requires a setting aside of oneself, sometimes that means setting aside your personal opinion. Sensing this acceptance the speaker will become less and less vulnerable and more and more likely to open up the inner recesses of his/her more mind to the listener
    3. Use open end questions
    1. Start with who, what, where, when, why, or how
    1. If you put in a complicated question you’re going to get a simple answer. For example, Were your terrified? The last word is what they will remember bringing forth a yes or no response. Let them describe how they felt. For example, How did that feel or What was that like. Now they have to take a moment to think about it bringing forth a much more interesting response
    4. Go with the flow
    1. Thoughts will enter the mind during conversation, like questions or comments about what the speaker is saying. Let them go
    5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know
    6. Don’t equate their experiences with yours. All experiences are individual. More importantly its not about you.
    7. Try not to repeat yourself
    8. Stay out of the weeds, no one cares about the details
    9. Listen….actively listen.
    1. Listen with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply
    10. Be brief
    1. A good conversation is like a miniskirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject

  • Chris Louis
    Chris Louis 1 month ago

    i agree with her 99 % and she was too funny

  • Markus Miekk-oja
    Markus Miekk-oja 1 month ago

    Redundancy has a thing going for it that people tend to forget: it helps ensure that an idea got across. If you hear an idea in two ways, it's more likely you actually grasp it than if you only hear it once. Yes, it's boring to hear someone repeat themselves, but it's also not very fun realizing that you misunderstood what your conversational partner said to you some time later.

  • MisterLivs
    MisterLivs 1 month ago

    i love this woman lol

  • george loui
    george loui 1 month ago

    I love it

  • Mina Dief
    Mina Dief 2 months ago

    some people will say " well, technically this speech is not for everyone every time, as there must be someone who should do the talking, and not listen, so I'm going to be that one"

    Ozan KARAKAYA 3 months ago

    That last quote though!

  • Alex Gulino
    Alex Gulino 3 months ago

    The most effective and to the point talk I've ever seen. Realistic advice that isn't counting on a flaw in your subject to remain effective. Great talk.

  • Devolock J
    Devolock J 3 months ago

    One of the best ted talks I've seen

  • Cloud white
    Cloud white 4 months ago

    this old man is like a stone

  • Vanessa Wideski
    Vanessa Wideski 4 months ago

    I Love this talk... I'm preparing to teach a communication course tomorrow and I will definitely be sharing this video... best one I've found on you tube! sooo good! Thank you Celeste Headlee

  • Anthony Rey
    Anthony Rey 5 months ago

    love this

  • SonyXLR
    SonyXLR 6 months ago +1

    Im only a good listener because I like hearing people's life stories and how they deal with their situations.

  • Danielle Policarpio
    Danielle Policarpio 7 months ago +1

    Where can I see the typed out version of what she just said?

    SKINNER 7 months ago

    I Googled bull shit and i ended up here
    The same will happen if you Google wasting time

    • SonyXLR
      SonyXLR 6 months ago

      Hehe, funny Harambe

  • Trap-lord -
    Trap-lord - 7 months ago +7

    "Most teens at this time send over 100 texts a day"
    Me: *looks at phone*
    *two texts*

    • Nick collinet
      Nick collinet 26 days ago

      You don't wanna live that kind of life anyway, it ends up being more depressing then simply doing a hobby. Mind you when you have your hobby you then can find other like minded individuals who are more than willing to look past your "flaws".

  • Yassine Gherbi
    Yassine Gherbi 8 months ago +3

    this talk is just awesome

  • Mr. Clyde
    Mr. Clyde 8 months ago +2

    Great speech

  • Lovro Levak
    Lovro Levak 8 months ago +24

    Ne gledaj u komentare, čeka te zadaća iz VjeKoma :)

  • Mona Mohamed
    Mona Mohamed 9 months ago +1

    one of the best talks :)

  • Xitlalmina Queen
    Xitlalmina Queen 9 months ago +1

    Great speech

  • Cindyisadog
    Cindyisadog 9 months ago

    What you need is some fury and some patience, and bam! you've got a conversation.

  • Epi
    Epi 9 months ago

    Mildly interesting to watch how people react at 0:30

  • suppervan
    suppervan 9 months ago

    nice one..

  • Daniel Milliams
    Daniel Milliams 9 months ago +6

    This woman is amazing!

  • Kellz G.
    Kellz G. 9 months ago +2

    Brilliant! Worth to watch often to keep what she said fresh in my memory

  • An Ne
    An Ne 10 months ago +1

    Excellent explanation but that was too fast for me to understand! 😏

    JUICEBOX 10 months ago +2

    really liked this one

  • Jawad Haider
    Jawad Haider 10 months ago +1

    What will be happen if both persons follow the last point " LISTEN" . Then how conversation will carry on further.

  • ahmed elbarky
    ahmed elbarky 10 months ago +1

    Like Like Like Like Like Like Like Like xD

  • ignis
    ignis 11 months ago +93

    1-Be present
    2-Enter enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn
    3-Use open ended questions
    4-Go with the flow
    5-If you dont know, say you dont know
    6-Do equate you experience with theirs
    7-try not to repeat your self
    8-forget the details, only focus on expressing your self.

    This is only for review purpose. If you havent seen the video pls watch it first then read this. And if you where reading this during the video pls restart it and watch it with you full attention.

    • Nick collinet
      Nick collinet 26 days ago

      I would say listening is 70% of what it is. Also i like to employ the "Kiss ass technique" where i forget who i am in the moment and only focus on them and their every word. You then say things like "wow that's really inspiring to hear" or "You handled the pain of child birth you can do anything". Just general lies that you feel confident telling people to bolster their ego. Trust me everyone wants their egos raised and they will keep coming back to you like chickens feeding on grain. Also once you gain that social rapport, your self worth to them has been increased so you become increasingly influential to them.

    • Riti Dwivedi
      Riti Dwivedi 6 months ago

      Woah ignis!!! You have been doing no. 9 pretty well!

    • kitty awesome
      kitty awesome 8 months ago


    • Trudy Swedberg-Anderson
      Trudy Swedberg-Anderson 9 months ago

      . C x Cx

    • mary cremin
      mary cremin 9 months ago

      ignis (,54&7

  • ACE-All Can Excel *Abhinay Irala*

    Good Speech Madam.....

  • stefan stefan
    stefan stefan 11 months ago

    STFU. you dont talk like that

  • Julian2Sounds
    Julian2Sounds 1 year ago


  • eden gezu
    eden gezu 1 year ago


  • Sean Sheppheard
    Sean Sheppheard 1 year ago +24

    "Be prepared to be Amazed" The final and strongest words.

    • Nick collinet
      Nick collinet 26 days ago

      I used these techniques and noticed an immediate difference instantly with my wife and friends. Honestly i think my problem was with listening as with most people.

  • *Dreadstar
    *Dreadstar 1 year ago +169

    ya know you are socially awkward when your looking up how to talk to your own species.

  • Svetlana Rovinsky
    Svetlana Rovinsky 1 year ago

    Wow! I was blown away by the thoughtfulness recommendations. I want to watch this weekly and pick a week to work on. This is definitely a skill to be honed.

  • IvLxdvI
    IvLxdvI 1 year ago

    I have a hard time listening to people because i think of things that has a 0% chance of happening, unless shes a girl.. whole other story then.

  • Andres Gtz
    Andres Gtz 1 year ago

    One of the best TED Talks, thanks for publishing this content.

  • Freedom Ring
    Freedom Ring 1 year ago

    i don't respect her as a person. i can't believe my youtube just switches to people on its own. this ladies not common with me.

  • MsGnor
    MsGnor 1 year ago +1

    Enjoyable and useful. Love your non-pretentious style, Celeste.

  • sidra shah
    sidra shah 1 year ago

    Always two septs at left side and then back to position.Body language is not good

  • Julian Smith
    Julian Smith 1 year ago

    Mrs. Headlee is an amazing speaker! She kept the audience engaged, was entertaining, got to the point, and made me feel like I learned something. She is definitely taking her tips and making the best out of them. I highly recommend for more people to see this video!

  • Grady Dave
    Grady Dave 1 year ago

    well spoken, shake me a lot...

  • Joshua Morriston
    Joshua Morriston 1 year ago +8

    She makes a bunch of great points in this talk. I think my favorite - or perhaps second to the one about being a good listener - was the one about letting go of the thoughts that run through our minds when someone's talking. We think that we'll forget it if we don't hold onto it, but it's our real-time responsiveness that'll make what we say hit. And we're capable of tracking a number of points that someone makes at the same time, so our responses to them can take on the nuanced character that really listening yields. Well look at that: letting go of our thought stream is really very closely related to careful listening.

  • Jared Beins
    Jared Beins 1 year ago +9

    People never listen to me, so I just shut up and listen, and when people ask for my opinion, I don't say anything.What is the point of my presence in the conversation anyway? One of the reasons why I don't socialize with people anymore.

    • Jota.Shank
      Jota.Shank 4 days ago

      Didn't you hear what she said? Most people are more interested in talking about themselves, if they don't listen to you, just pay attention to what their saying and when they ask you questions give them an honest and brief answer.

    • Nick collinet
      Nick collinet 26 days ago

      Well what are you doing to annoy people when you talk? You can't just declare you're bad at something and give up. Ask people "what is it about me that annoys you guys the most?". Most people will give a straight answer and if they don't they're not mature enough to even consider using these techniques on. This all depends on your age tbh, as adolescents think egocentrically until the ages of 18-25.

    • huyen pham
      huyen pham 5 months ago

      I used to be put in your position. Now, when I have grown up and become a more thoughtful person ,I see that because I didn't believe in myself, I thought I wasn't intelligent enough to raise a good point in any conversation , so I made myself alone . I am not a psychologist to give you useful advice but just share my experience. Hope you overcome it

    • anewcareerinanewtown
      anewcareerinanewtown 11 months ago

      +Thorn there is a general talk by introvert Susan Cain which has had almost 15 million views! She explains how things are for introverts.

    • Thorn
      Thorn 11 months ago

      Yeah, her advice is mostly directed at extroverts, who have trouble listening and always want to be the one talking.

      Us introverts need another Ted talk, probably given by an introvert.

  • José Yánez
    José Yánez 1 year ago

    Great talk!

  • Bianca van der Velden van de Loo Jansen

    Well if it comes to : oooh no sorry go on !!! Bud what if uhh OK go on !!! Now how can you ??? While : Now I sure have to remember this !!! what ??? Well just let the other person talk right !!! Way still ??? WHAT ??? DUHHH !!! LOL !!!!

  • Pnoy Primo
    Pnoy Primo 1 year ago

    eyebrows on fleek

  • Maree Christiansen
    Maree Christiansen 1 year ago

    i love that these topics need to be discussed and education given it is sad that a chunk of socity has lost its humanity

  • Itsdexter1994
    Itsdexter1994 1 year ago

    I really liked this. Go in with the intention to be amazed 👍🏿

  • Salsa Colombia
    Salsa Colombia 1 year ago +9

    So how do I keep a good conversation if I'm a really good listener?

    • Jennifer Bannink
      Jennifer Bannink 8 months ago

      Salsa Colombia imagine you're reading a book. What more do you want to find out about this story? What have you observed? Make a conversation interesting.

    • Blahstar Records
      Blahstar Records 9 months ago

      you commit suicide

  • Miloud ZAIDA
    Miloud ZAIDA 1 year ago

    I think that conversation should be more interresting.

  • Southern Bum
    Southern Bum 1 year ago +3

    4:29 To skip the introduction. This is a wonderful speech, but I'm finding myself listening to it over and over so I thought I would skip the introduction.

  • Master Dawson
    Master Dawson 1 year ago

    Thanks for the best video that i have never.........

  • JustAnotherDrummerJG
    JustAnotherDrummerJG 1 year ago +1

    Steven Cubby - "most of us don't listen with the intent to understand, we listen with the intent to reply".
    Henry Higgins - "To hold a conversation, just talk about the weather and health".

  • Maksimilian Ryschkov
    Maksimilian Ryschkov 1 year ago +7

    Nice talk! Allthough I slightly disagree with one point: "Stay out of the weeds". I think every one has had more then one conversation where the counterpart was incredibly vague and generalizing. This is especially annoying when you are trying to make a point. So I'm more a facts and data guy than a 'general idea' guy. But maybe that's because I study maths and expect the same kind of reasoning in daily conversations ;)

    • Amar Sofiane
      Amar Sofiane 8 months ago

      it depends on the subject,by "weeds" she probably meant, unimportant details.

    • Sarii Fox
      Sarii Fox 10 months ago

      That's really interesting! Goes to show how different the individual is :D

  • daimon
    daimon 1 year ago

    are the 10 rules written down anywhere?

  • Herbon Hallasgo
    Herbon Hallasgo 1 year ago


  • Abhi Gupta
    Abhi Gupta 1 year ago

    the best ted talk on conversation i have ever watched. 👍

  • Selinor578
    Selinor578 1 year ago

    There's always someone who's got a vested interest in saying that what we thought 10 or 20 or whatever years ago is rubbish.

  • Selinor578
    Selinor578 1 year ago

    1/3 of American teenagers send more than 100 texts a day? Hmmmm I'd wonder about those statistics. Anyone know how much it costs to send a text in the USA?

    • Natalie zen
      Natalie zen 1 year ago

      Yup there's a plan

    • Selinor578
      Selinor578 1 year ago

      +Natalie zen
      Arrrrghh! Are texts free then, or do they just pay a set amount and text as much as they like?

    • Natalie zen
      Natalie zen 1 year ago

      it's unlimited lol

  • Heidi Elva
    Heidi Elva 1 year ago

    I searched for the art of conversation in youtube and came across this. I love every "rule" she has and I feel like each one is so true. Especially the being present and not thinking of your response before they finish. I have been working on my conversational skills for years and have been trying to explain to my husband some of my ideas on what this means. Now I can just show him this video.

  • cxa011500
    cxa011500 1 year ago +30

    I understand why I have a hard time holding a conversation now. I'm just not interested in people. :|

    • Nick collinet
      Nick collinet 26 days ago

      If you're not interested in people, you simply haven't met a person with a personality similar enough to your own. Find other introverts who hate talking to people, that how i got "unstuck".

    • Adrian Cueto
      Adrian Cueto 7 months ago

      cxa011500 your not interested in life. Be passionate about something and you'll see how much you'll have to say.

    • A-tomiiC
      A-tomiiC 8 months ago

      really depends on what you like. Discussions about hobbies such as sports. If both parties can relate to that interest than theres a spark in that conversation.

  • momjeans
    momjeans 1 year ago +2

    yeah, i do all those things and people just think im a weirdo :/

  • Ianhoulihan
    Ianhoulihan 1 year ago +1

    So what was it like to meet Hugh Jackman in a coffee shop?

  • thepokigur
    thepokigur 1 year ago +1

    This talk was short enough to retain attention and long enough to cover the subject.

  • Dawn H
    Dawn H 1 year ago

    Great Ted Talk!

  • ivsipivsi
    ivsipivsi 1 year ago

    Hey everyone, I'm not a native speaker so I couldn't get what rule Nr. 2 is: Don't ... ?!? Anybody help. pleasee!! :)

    • ivsipivsi
      ivsipivsi 1 year ago

      Oh thanks a lot!!

    • Sarthak Agrawal
      Sarthak Agrawal 1 year ago

      She said "don't pontificate",which means don't give long speeches about your opinions without any opportunity for response from the other person

  • Zoubaier Aouadi
    Zoubaier Aouadi 1 year ago

    Listening to this and comparing on how i do, its like 80% how most of my conversations are :)

  • Koala Koala
    Koala Koala 1 year ago +2

    Great talk..
    But couldn't resist noticing the guy from 0:22 to 0:33.Poor guy . That lady was clearly not interested in him. Two times. She didn't find it funny at all lol

    • Sam Lee
      Sam Lee 5 days ago

      If he reads these comments his insecurity might spiral...!

    • Chris Hartwig
      Chris Hartwig 1 year ago

      +RSA RSA oh him! Yeah, you're right haha

    • Koala Koala
      Koala Koala 1 year ago

      +Chris Hartwig The guy wearing glasses? Has a bit of Tony Hale in him?

    • Chris Hartwig
      Chris Hartwig 1 year ago

      +RSA RSA Where is he? I can't find him!

  • HipnikDragomir
    HipnikDragomir 1 year ago +1

    That clicking of what she's wearing is making it... hard to listen to her

  • Francine Dozois
    Francine Dozois 1 year ago

    In brief... Bravo!

  • Thanaporn Sareebutr
    Thanaporn Sareebutr 1 year ago

    she is a wonderful speaker.

    JIM DELIOS 1 year ago +1

    As a barber, I always do the talking, it's exhausting, this was a great video, I will use this, thanks a lot for posting

  • Jerms
    Jerms 1 year ago

    Great to know there are people out there that are actually interested in people genuinely, great talk Celeste!

  • Vikraman
    Vikraman 1 year ago +14

    This talk deserves more views

    • Nick collinet
      Nick collinet 26 days ago

      Easily the most impactful ted talk of my life.

  • Sheshagiri Pai
    Sheshagiri Pai 1 year ago +2

    This is one of the best TEDx talks. I am so thankful.

  • Anglo Zaxzon
    Anglo Zaxzon 1 year ago

    Excellent practical, wise and witty. I will share this with my people who, I hope will listen, learn and apply this key to true joy in their relationships because my customers, their bosses, deserve it.

  • Lee Owen
    Lee Owen 1 year ago

    SO GOOD!

  • Jehan Music
    Jehan Music 1 year ago

    She has it exactly right. I was becoming an increasingly poor listener and found that it was affecting my relationships and even my self. In the past couple of years I've really focused on learning from people and finding what people are passionate about. I feel closer to people and enriched as a result. It's a privilege to be able to converse with someone and learn about their life. It's not about showing how funny you are or how much you know, that's boring. It's about finding out what they care about and why. I do often have to use active listening skills if I find my interest waning, but most often all it takes is a few extra questions and I find that sweet spot where the other person is talking about something or someone they love and it goes from a boring conversation to a fascinating conversation. Is it an effortful process? Yes. Do I often find myself talking and not listening? Yes. But I make the effort as best as I can and I never ever regret it.

  • Semo M
    Semo M 1 year ago +2

    WoOW. One of the greatest Ted talk I have ever heard. I really like it. Her way of speech Nd tune of voice are pretty amazing!

  • sathvik Jain
    sathvik Jain 1 year ago

    Wow! She is funny and her talk has substance. Thank you

  • Abdulrahman Oubari
    Abdulrahman Oubari 1 year ago

    Amazing women who is really mentioned a lots of key point that we rarely think about it and about repeat back the one who talk and you are really paying attention, however, i think the person that he talk i guess he already know whether there is a connection or not, the last few sentences have to be realized really well simply we have one mouth and two ears as well as the more you talk the more energy you spend.

  • Joe
    Joe 1 year ago +34

    Conversations in this generation are like underwear. Short enough to retain attention and not long enough to cover the subject.

    • Amonfobious
      Amonfobious 8 months ago

      that's literally in the video

    • David Quper
      David Quper 1 year ago

      +Joe Nah, conversations nowadays are like grandma skirts with moth holes, too long and even not cover the subject... whatshapp messages are like underwear, but in an inflatable doll, there´s nothing interesting beneath

    • DRATER469
      DRATER469 1 year ago

      +Ultimate Fighter Thats a milleniphobic micro-aggression. Check your privilege.

    • OdysseyZZGaming
      OdysseyZZGaming 1 year ago


  • TheOther
    TheOther 1 year ago +5

    lol, she's so funny and a wonderful speaker. I love lesbians

  • th4FK
    th4FK 1 year ago

    Now this is a gem

  • ZERO 9
    ZERO 9 1 year ago

    Very good! Enlightend my day.. thank you!

  • Jeffer London
    Jeffer London 1 year ago

    Thank you, Celeste Headlee, for getting us thinking about the way we talk to each other. Hope to be in conversation soon! Another view on TEDx is "Better Conversations for a Better World - Jeffer London"

  • Willpower Harris
    Willpower Harris 1 year ago +14

    Fast paced, engaging and informative.  Great TedxTalk...funny too!

  • DaveSincere
    DaveSincere 1 year ago

    This was a great TedTalk. I need to show this to my mother. She talks too much.

    • Sebastian
      Sebastian 1 year ago

      +Melvin Moreno Maldonado I'm fairly certain he was joking. Stop taking yourself too seriously.

    • Melvin Moreno Maldonado
      Melvin Moreno Maldonado 1 year ago

      And you probably don't listen to anything she says. You probably learnt nothing from this talk.

  • Romano Naidoo
    Romano Naidoo 1 year ago +150

    If you're reading this, I hope you have a great day!😊

    • Goran 30
      Goran 30 10 months ago

      There are several components to reducing shyness naturally . One resource I found which successfully combines these is the Sebs Shyness Tactic (check it out on google) without a doubt the no.1 blueprint i've heard of. Check out the amazing information .

    • Pedro americo costa belfort
      Pedro americo costa belfort 1 year ago

      +Romano Naidoo Obrigado

    • Cristian Naxi
      Cristian Naxi 1 year ago

      get fucked

      HASHEYEHOSH 1 year ago

      thanks and likewise

  • Romano Naidoo
    Romano Naidoo 1 year ago


  • chillinxxpaki69
    chillinxxpaki69 1 year ago +1

    Hi can someone clarify what she says her second point is. I honestly heard puntive cate and I can decipher the exact words. Thanks a bunch

    • chillinxxpaki69
      chillinxxpaki69 1 year ago

      Thanks Heather. Appreciate the clarification. Cheers!

    • Heather P
      Heather P 1 year ago

      +chillinxxpaki69 'pontificate' - to be pompous in expressing your opinion.

  • ThE CoOkiE MoNsTeR
    ThE CoOkiE MoNsTeR 1 year ago

    Broke it down true as f

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