We live in an amazing time where ideas flow faster than birds can fly. You’d think that our problems would be solved by now, but conversations are at a standstill; all because we’re afraid of awkwardness, or offending another party.
Not everyone is comfortable in conversation, but what people forget is just because we think we suck, doesn’t mean we can’t improve.
Maybe ranting about things or yelling at people is more your style? Maybe you’re not a big talker and you like to listen but don’t want to stay silent all the time.
Neither has all the answers, but what I can say is we need you BOTH. You also both need each other.
Here are five TED Talks to help add weight to your conversations.
10 Ways to Have A Better Conversation
Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn. – Celeste Headlee
This fiery woman holds nothing back. Celeste Headlee is a journalist who only cares about exposing truth. She doesn’t care whether you’re Democrat or Republican, the fact is we’re all human. She had a famous grandfather growing up and was constantly in the company of people from different worlds whether they were black or white, musician or intellectual, it didn’t matter. What connected them all was conversation. As a journalist, Mrs. Headlee has made it a point to break barriers through conversation.
She begins her talk by asking, “How many of you have unfriended someone on Facebook because they said something offensive about politics, religion, childcare, food?”
Think about that for a second. Guilty as charged.
Here are her top points:
- Don’t multitask. (4:27)
- Don’t pontificate. (4:50)
- Use open-ended questions. (6:02)
- Go with the flow. (6:39)
- If you don’t know, say that you don’t know. (7:26)
- Don’t equate your experience with theirs. (7:46)
- Try not to repeat yourself. (8:26)
- Stay out of the wits. (8:46)
- Listen. (9:08)
- Be brief. (10:29)
You may be wondering what it all means–– context is everything. Take a moment to watch her talk, if there’s one TED Talk you watch from this post, make it this one.
“We’re more polarized and divided than we ever have been in history. We decide where we’re going to live, marry, based on what we already believe. Point is, we’re not listening to each other. Conversation requires a balance of listening and talking.”
“Stephen Covey says: ‘Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, we listen with the intent to reply.’ *In order words, there’s a difference between listening and waiting to talk.
If you need a bit more of a reprimanding, watch her TED talk Help Make America Talk Again
Celeste closes her 10 Ways to Have A Better Conversation by saying this:
How to Skip the Small Talk and Connect with Anyone
Kalina decided one day that she was tired of everyday conversations. In her talk, she mentions in her freshman year of college she felt lost and the question that plagued her was “Who am I?”
What I admire most is she took the initiative. She saw a problem and decided to fill the void. Kalina no longer wanted to sit back and let things happen. Armed with a camera and a few questions she asked strangers, “What do you want to do before you die?” She had a list of surefire conversation starters Eventually her ideas caught on and turned into a movement which has already begun to change the way people have conversations throughout the world.
Are you a young person and you want to change the world but aren’t sure how? Be inspired.
Still curious? Check out her website at makebigtalk.com
How to be Speak so That People Want to Listen
The human voice; it’s the instrument we all play. It’s the most powerful sound in the world, and is probably the only one that can start a war, or say I love you–– and yet many people have the experience that when they speak, people don’t listen. – Julian Treasure
The average person speaks anywhere from 13,000 to 20,000 words a day. But it’s worth questioning if people actually know how to use their voice and their words.
Here’s a metaphor that probably won’t apply to everyone, but I’ll use anyways. Super Smash Bros. is one of the most popular video games of our time. Many characters from various video game series are put together to fight in the ring. Some are faster and some are slower. As kids, we used to always argue about which character was the best and which character sucked. One of those was Ness. He was a difficult cookie to use and if you didn’t know how, could easily fall to his death at any point during a match. But whenever a master user came along, Ness was often the feared character.
It’s not enough to simply have a tool, you need to know how to use it (effectively.) Learning how to use a tool is almost as important as the tool itself.
Julian Treasure is an internationally renown speakers and this talk demonstrates this fully. His talk has a HUGE amount of information, all of which is worthy of note. Watch his talk above before you review his points.
They are all summarized below for your convenience:
7 Deadly Sins of Speaking to Avoid:
HAIL – To greet or acclaim enthusiastically
H – Honestly (Be straight and clear)
A – Authenticity (Be yourself)
I – Integrity (Be your word)
L – Love (wish them well)
- Register – Locate your voice at your chest to gain some weight
- Timbre – Voices that are rich, smooth and warm
- Prosody – Avoid monotone, a statement sounds like a question and repeat a statement
- Pace – Get excited by saying something really quickly; Slow down to emphasize; Silent
- Pitch- Ex: “Where did you leave my keys?” with different pitches, are different meaning
- Volume: Excited – High Volume; Attention – Low Volume
Warm up your voice
- Arms up, deep breath in and sigh out
- Warm up the lips: Ba, ba, ba, ba, ba…; Brrrrr…….
- Tongue warm up: La, la, la, la, la….; Rrrrrr…..
- WeeeeeeeeeAaaaawwww (From high pitch to low pitch)
After all these incredible pointers take a look at which of the 7 Deadly Sins of Speaking you avoid, or how you could use your voice better to communicate clearer. Changing the world around you starts with changing the way you use your voice.
If you think it’s important, you owe it to yourself to look at this toolbox and the engine that it’s going to work on. No engine works well without being warmed up. Warm-up your voice. – Julian Treasure
How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Speaker number three has recently taken the internet by storm because of his views on the millennial generation. different issues, but Simon Sinek is most famous for deconstructing how successful companies like Apple sell as well as they do. He calls it “The Golden Circle.”
You might be thinking, “This talk is about how leaders inspire action, I’m not a leader!” Everyone is a leader in some capacity, and if you feel otherwise, this talk will help you to be. Simon Sinek refreshes the way we talk to people because he shows us we’re asking the wrong questions at the wrong time.
By giving historical examples such as MLK and the Wright Brothers he shows us the world’s greatest leaders answer the questions why, how, and what in that order. He also gives us an example of someone who wasn’t in it for human advancement but rather for the fame. You nor I have ever heard of him. He was a contemporary of the Wright Brothers with an impressive resume, federal funding, and friends in high places. Nonetheless he still failed because it’s all about why you do it.
“We say what we do, we say how we’re different or how we’re better, and we expect some sort of response. The goal is not to do business with everybody who need what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here’s why I left.
You know those people in America that go to funerals and picket them saying “they deserved it.” The so-called Westboro Baptist Church treks across the country with neon signs and preach fire and brimstone on everyone. They don’t love out loud, just the opposite. They hate out loud. Megan Phelps-Roper was one of them, and the granddaughter of the founder. She was one of their most outspoken (and they all are.)
Protesting is one thing, but picketing a funeral is a whole other animal. Most people would deem the things the WBC as eternally unforgivable. I’m with you on that. How would you feel if your brother was a Marine and these people from Kansas City drove all the way to protest his funeral. Then add all the fiery insults and verbal trigger bombs to the mix, how does one keep cool?
So great, these 40 people from Kansas city as believe that unless you join their group of 40 people, you’re going to burn in hell for eternity? Doesn’t that just make you want to abandon religion at all costs?
In her incredible story she shares that it was love that unraveled her beliefs and caused her to see that people are “not the demons she was led to believe.”
I was never a big fan of twitter, but if it can do incredible things like change someone’s life, why not?
“We celebrate tolerance and diversity more than at any other time in memory, yet we grow more and more divided. We want good things, justice, equality, freedom, dignity, prosperity, but the path we’ve chosen looks so much like the one I walked away from four years ago. We’ve broken the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’ only emerging from our bunkers long enough to lob rhetorical grenades at the other camp. We write off the other half of the country as ‘out-of-touch liberal elites’ or ‘racist misogynist bullies.’ No nuance, no complexity, no humanity.” (7:42)
“The good is is that it’s simple and the bad news is that it’s hard. We have to talk and listen to people we disagree with. It’s hard because we often can’t fathom how the other side came to their positions. It’s hard because righteous indignation, that sense of certainty that ours is the right side is so seductive.” (8:22)
“Asking questions signals to someone that they’re being heard.”
I think we should chew on that for a second because that’s a HUGE quote.
4 Lessons from Twitter to Change Her Heart:
- Don’t Assume Bad Intent. (9:36)
- Ask Questions (10:16)
- Stay Calm (11:02)
- Make the Argument (12:24)
These five TED Talks have the potential to change your life if you’ll let them. Maybe you don’t have the time to digest them all this second, that’s fine. Do one a day!
I’ve written the main points of each talk below after having watched them myself. Even if you just watch one, implement it to your life and you will see change. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Keep loving out loud through Conversation!