#5 Having better conversations, what’s happening now, and drying your hands

1. How to have a better conversation

Celeste Headlee thinks we have lost the ability to have a conversation. We constantly end up in arguments and play devil’s advocate, don’t listen, assume we already know what the person is going to say and have lost the balance between talking and listening.

She believes we can learn how to have a great conversation without wasting your time, getting bored or offending someone. And have conversations where we feel engaged, inspired and have a real connection with someone.

Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation, TEDxCreativeCoast May 2015

Her tips are be present, don’t pontificate, assume you have something to learn from other people, ask open questions, go with the flow, don’t equate your experience with other people’s, try not to repeat yourself, don’t worry too much about the details, listen and be brief. It all boils down to being interested in other people not just yourself.

Listening to Celeste’s talk reminds of the listening skills I’m trying to practice as part of the coaching circle set up via North East Together: Leaders Network for Social Change and reading Nancy Kline’s Time to Think, which is all about creating a thinking environment and helping people think well together. I hope you enjoy her talk too.

2. Now

I’ve been sharing what I’m doing now on my personal blog on and off for a few months. And I now share this here on Medium.

I stole the idea from Derek Sivers (the man who gave that TED talk about social movements — First followers: Leadership lessons from dancing guy). Derek created his /now page to help publicly declare his priorities and be a reminder to himself when he’s unfocussed. And also to help him say no… brilliant.

I use it to show what I’m working on now, as Derek does, but also what’s coming up for me and a bit of working and thinking out loud.

It’s such a good idea to steal that loads of other people have done the same and there’s now a now page movement plus a website that lists people’s /now pages.

3. What’s in my diary

I’m going to/helping out at/hosting a few things in June and July 2016 that you might be interested in too. And between them you’ll get a chance to be challenged, to learn and to dream big. You need to register for all of them.

I might see you there!

4. And finally…

…learn how to dry your hands using only one paper towel. Shake and fold! I’ve tried it. It works but there’s a lot — perhaps an unusual amount — of handshaking involved…

Joe Smith: How to use a paper towel at TEDxConcordiaUPortland March 2012

June 2016