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We Need To Talk Summary

Quote From We Need To Talk by Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee who won the silver nautilus award in relationships & communication is an author of We Need To Talk which is based on her TED talk that has been viewed over 10 million.

Simple-Short-Summary: We Need To Talk coaches you on how to become good in communication, makes you better at understanding people, and demonstrates effective communication strategies to form meaningful connections.

This book is especially for people who talk the most but also want to develop listening skills, people who are interested in refining conversation skills, and for those folk who are frustrated with superficial communication.

We Need To Talk Summary

5 min Read

In this summary, you’ll learn four lessons:

Lesson: A – By searching for common group you can even win the hardest conversation

Lesson: B – Use support response to fuel conversation and listen the speaker carefully

Lesson: C – Listening is a skill that can improve with consistent practice

Lesson: D — Focus on listener while communicating your message and share your message briefly

Lesson: A – By searching for common group you can even win the hardest conversation

Do you feel shy or try to run away from handling a difficult conversation? If so, you aren’t alone as the majority of people feel fear to handle a difficult conversation.

There’re times when the conversation that looks difficult to do ends up amazingly well. In the modern polarized society, one can easily assume that there’s nothing common to talk about between you and your conversational partner.

Everyone holds preconceived ideas about others. For example, suppose your kid is going to spend the night at his friend’s house, and so for this, you’re talking with that friend’s parent.

As you’re speaking, you find out that both of you share the same thought on numerous political matters. However, does this mean that your kid will be secure in that house?

Actually, we assume that the understanding of one thing indicates the understanding of all things. On the other side, disagreement on an issue expresses disagreement on all.

But, remember no matter whomever you’re speaking with, it’s essential to talk and honor other opinions. Thus, you must have to listen carefully what the other person is saying.

Lesson: B – Use support response to fuel conversation and listen the speaker carefully

The author Celeste Headlee emcees a radio program in which she has interviewed a myriad of guests. Even though, sometimes she commits a mistake by turning the focus away from the speaker – towards herself.

Unconsciously, the majority of people perform the same mistake at all times. Charles Derber, a sociologist, calls this “conversational narcissism.”

Charles further says you can give two responses in any conversation, and these’re support and shift responses. Shift response is something in which you take the focus away from your conversational partner.

For example, suppose your friend tells you that he has been busied for a couple of days. Then, it feels natural to says, me too!

But, that’s a shift response, and saying this can turn the spotlight from the conversational partner to you. On the other side, to retain focus on your conversational partner, you’ve to deliver a support response.

Support response enables you to urge your speakers to speak more and share their stories so that you can understand them in a better way. In this, you use words or phrases that show you’re genuinely interested in talking to them.

In our case, you can use the phrase, “why have you been so busy?” Framing the answer in this manner requires a lot of effort.

Moreover, it’s a natural tendency to share a personal experience when somebody is sharing its experience. Actually, this is how empathy works.

So, if somebody describes a tasty meal, you would visualize yourself as you’re having that food too. Your life, sometimes , isn’t always as similar as you think with the other person you’re speaking with.

It’s absolutely normal to have different knowledge from the other person you’re talking to. More often than not, we behave in a way as we’re already aware of what the speaker is speaking.

Lesson: C – Listening is a skill that can improve with consistent practice

Modern research observed the brain especially when people talked about themselves and discovered astonishing facts. So, whenever you were gossiping about yourself, a similar portion of your brain had illuminated when you took cocaine, had sex, or ate sugar.

It looks like gossiping about yourself gives you that much pleasure. On the other hand, listening requires a lot of effort. That means it isn’t fun!

So, if you consider listening as a process in which you don’t speak for a moment then you’re wrong. Because listening is a skill that you can learn, and with practicing, you become better at it.

The majority of people believe that they’re good at listening. But, are they certain of this?

Because latest technology bestows countless distractions, and if you discover yourself unnecessarily checking your emails while in a meeting then don’t deceive yourself. Here, you aren’t doing multitasking.

You’re just distracted as you cannot focus on multiple things altogether. Obviously, not everyone is good at doing effective listening.

First of all, you should understand that people don’t only communicate with words as they involve gestures as they talk, and tone of voice is as significant as gestures. With these three components, you’ll know the other person better and understand what he wants to communicate.

Another approach to enhance your listening skill is to stop worrying about what you’ve to say next in an ongoing conversation. It’ll give you some time to discover what the other person wants to say.

Think of summarizing your conversation – of course – in your brain to refocus your attention. It may sound like a piece of cake, however, it isn’t that much easy. But, the result is worth the effort.

Lesson: D — Focus on listener while communicating your message and share your message briefly

Active listening is one part of the conversation, but you also need to take care of the other part of the conversation. Because even if you pay attention carefully to every word your speaker is speaking, there’re times in which you need to talk.

In those moments, your contribution must be something that adds the value of the communication. For this, here are three tips that help you to do the same.

These tips are to share a concise message, avoid repeating yourself, and the last one is to avoid telling a rambling story. Now, let’s elaborate on three elements of conversation in detail.

So, whenever you start your communication, your message must be concise.

In fact, one study even suggests that the average attention span of humans is one second less than that of a goldfish. So, if you describe every tiny detail of a narrative, then the chances are that the people will lose interest in it.

Thus, watch the other person while you’re speaking as this’ll help you to know either the respondent is interested in the story or not. Notice, are your listener looking away or trying to speed up the narrative?

Besides this, don’t think that reiterating the same thing will help the listener to memorize something. Studies clarify that repetition is only helpful for the speaker to memorize, but it doesn’t do anything for the listener.

In fact, repeating your message too often can cause the listener to ignore you.

The last is to avoid telling rambling stories. These narratives that you describe in minutes detail cause the listener to lose interest in it.

You may think that you’re helping the listener to remember, but this may be too much.



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