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Home » Celeste Headlee on 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation (Full Transcript)

Celeste Headlee on 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation (Full Transcript)

Celeste Headlee

Here is the full text and summary of Celeste Headlee’s talk titled “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.”

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:

TRANSCRIPT

All right. I want to see a show of hands: how many of you have unfriended someone on Facebook because they said something offensive about politics or religion, childcare, food?

And how many of you know at least one person that you avoid because you just don’t want to talk to them?

You know, it used to be that in order to have a polite conversation, we just had to follow the advice of Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady”: Stick to the weather and your health. But these days, with climate change and anti-vaxxing, those subjects are not safe either.

So this world that we live in, this world in which every conversation has the potential to devolve into an argument, where our politicians can’t speak to one another and where even the most trivial of issues have someone fighting both passionately for it and against it, it’s not normal.

Pew Research did a study of 10,000 American adults, and they found that at this moment, we are more polarized, we are more divided, than we ever have been in history. We’re less likely to compromise, which means we’re not listening to each other. And we make decisions about where to live, who to marry and even who our friends are going to be, based on what we already believe. Again, that means we’re not listening to each other. A conversation requires a balance between talking and listening, and somewhere along the way, we lost that balance.

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