This TED Talk Teaches You How to Have Better Conversations
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We love TED Talks. We’ve learned a lot from them, ranging across topics like human psychology and behavior and how your brain works to more practical subjects like viewing your money in a new way.

But it’s one thing to watch TED Talks that impart knowledge, and it’s another thing to watch a TED Talk that helps you become a better person in your day-to-day life. What if TED could help you overcome a weakness like, say, not being able to hold a conversation well?

If you’re an introvert, then social anxiety may be your Achilles heel. It is for me, and it’s a lot more common than you might think. Fortunately, there is a TED Talk that could help you here. (Actually it’s TEDx, which is similar but not held to the same standards as TED, so they can be hit or miss. This one is good, though.)

In this 12-minute video, Celeste Headlee tackles an important problem: we, as a society, are more polarized and argumentative than we’ve ever been. We’re losing our willingness to compromise and we’re ruining ourselves with echo chambers (due in part to the feedback loops of social media).

So how do we have better conversations?

  1. Don’t multitask. (4:28)
  2. Don’t pontificate. (4:50)
  3. Use open-ended questions. (6:03)
  4. Go with the flow. (6:40)
  5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. (7:26)
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. (7:46)
  7. Try not to repeat yourself. (8:30)
  8. Stay out of the weeds. (8:46)
  9. Listen. (9:08)
  10. Be brief. (10:28)

For deeper exploration of each point, see the timestamp in the video. Continue your social renewal through these TED Talks on social relationships, and if you intend to do some public speaking, check out these TED Talks worth imitating.

What’s your biggest social fear? Do you have any tricks or tips for holding better conversations? Share with us in the comments below!

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