“WE NEED TO TALK.”
In this urgent and insightful book, public radio journalist Celeste Headlee shows us how to bridge what divides usby having real conversations
BASED ON THE TED TALK WITH OVER 10 MILLION VIEWSNPR's Best Books of 2017
Winner of the 2017 Silver Nautilus Award in Relationships & Communication
“We Need to Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challenged, disconnected age. Headlee is a talented, honest storyteller, and her advice has helped me become a better spouse, friend, and mother.” (Jessica Lahey, author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure)
Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals.
And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist—and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication. For example:
- BE THERE OR GO ELSEWHERE. Human beings are incapable of multitasking, and this is especially true of tasks that involve language. Think you can type up a few emails while on a business call, or hold a conversation with your child while texting your spouse? Think again.
- CHECK YOUR BIAS. The belief that your intelligence protects you from erroneous assumptions can end up making you more vulnerable to them. We all have blind spots that affect the way we view others. Check your bias before you judge someone else.
- HIDE YOUR PHONE. Don’t just put down your phone, put it away. New research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can negatively impact the quality of a conversation.
Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your kid’s teacher at school, an employee at work, or the people you love the most—Headlee offers smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.
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About the Author
Celeste Headlee has been a host and journalist with National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and American Public Media since 2008. She has appeared on CNN, the BBC, PBS, and MSNBC. Celeste has one son and one rescue dog, and lives in Washington, DC.
Table of Contents
1 Conversation is a Survival Skill 3
2 Communication and Conversation are not the Same 19
3 You Can't Outsmart a Bad Conversation 31
4 Set the Stage 49
5 Some Conversations are Harder than Others 59
6 Be There or go Elsewhere 89
7 It's Not the Same! 103
8 Get Off the Soapbox 121
9 Keep It Short 139
10 No Repeats 149
11 That's a Great Question 161
12 You Can't Know Everything 169
13 Stay Out of the Weeds 179
14 Travel Together 191
15 Listen! 205
16 Sometimes we Shouldn't Talk 223