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Essay on 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

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Written by
Eliza Lee
  • Icon Calendar 18 May 2024
  • Icon Page 662 words
  • Icon Clock 4 min read
English (United States)
Academic level
High School
Paper format
Individual Essay Example

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Effective communication is an important skill in daily routine. Though there have been many suggestions on what effective communication looks like, one of the best models given is in this Ted Talk essay on “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation” by Celeste Headlee. In particular, the speaker’s ten rules for enhancing better conversations should be applied to daily communication because they foster superior conversational experiences, are ideal for quality information gathering, and are more effective than popular communication models.

The Main Idea of the Video

Effective communication requires adherence to communication styles that offer two-way engagement. While there is no one-size-fits-all communication style, good communicators understand and match their communication style to their audience (Baumann 460). Headlee’s TED talk gives 10 rules to follow to ensure better conversations. It occurs when people enter a conversation assuming they have something to learn (Headlee 00:05:21 – 00:05:27). Being open-minded in conversation will lead to the possibility of accepting and learning new ideas that someone did not have before. However, the biggest rule of communication is listening with the intent of understanding rather than replying (Schuneman par. 3). Listening ensures that conversations are honest, meaningful, and impactful. Keeping a set of conversational rules might seem cumbersome, but it creates more engaging conversations.

Ted Talk Essay on “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation” by Celeste Headlee

Relating to Personal Experiences

Headlee’s insights are revolutionary and relatable to my personal experiences. Every conversation has a chance to turn into an argument, with people passionately fighting for and against even the most trivial issues (Headlee 00:00:47 – 00:01:04). For this reason, expecting that I will encounter people with ideologies that are different from mine requires me to act as an effective communicator since I am a leader in several settings. Impactful leadership goes beyond talk into applying effective communication (Baumann 460). Therefore, I aspire to apply Headlee’s communication strategies to my conversations for enhanced effectiveness. This application is an important element in improving my communication model.


However, an improved communication model is important because it enhances the quality of information gathered during conversations. Gathering information using open-ended questions is ideal because complicated questions get simple answers (Headlee 00:06:03 – 00:06:14). Open-ended questions help those in conversations to get in touch with opposer’s emotions as they respond, making their responses add value to the conversation. Effective information gathering ensures meaningful interactions during conversations.

Applying the Knowledge

Meaningful conversational interactions require communication strategies that apply conversational competence. Conversational competence, though an underrated skill, helps people sustain coherent confident conversations (Headlee 00:02:12 – 00:02:30). Confidence and coherence in conversation ensure mutual respect and understanding between those conversing. Headlee’s rules are an effective communication strategy that is both refreshing and surprising.

Surprising Fact

One surprising thing from Headlee’s talk is the assertion that popular communication models are ineffective. Popular communication models show people how to ‘pretend’ to be involved in a conversation (Headlee 00:03:04 – 00:03:35). This information is shocking since popular communication models are widely in use. Communication models, like person-centered listening, are based on the premise that active listening skills are the bedrock of conversations (Beesley 43). Better conversations require a balance between listening and talking. Therefore, Headlee’s ten rules are effective in bettering conversations because they promote this balance.

Summing Up

Effective communication, as outlined by Headlee, helps people to ensure that everyone in a conversation is heard and understood. A great conversation is meaningful and leaves both parties feeling inspired, connected, understood, and engaged. Headlee’s effective conversational strategies should be extended to everyday communication since they promote superior conversational interactions, are perfect for collecting quality information, and are surprisingly more reliable than conventional communication models.

Works Cited

Baumann, Nikola A. “The Importance of Effective Communication: Some Food for Thought.” The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine, vol. 1, no. 4, 2017, pp. 460-461, doi:10.1373/jalm.2016.021865.

Beesley, Paula. Developing Your Communication Skills in Social Work. Los Angeles, SAGE, 2018.

Headlee, Celeste. “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.” Ted Talk, 2015, www.ted.com/talks/celeste_headlee_10_ways_to_have_a_better_conversation.

Schuneman, Fred. “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.” Invista, 2020, www.invistaperforms.org/10-ways-to-have-a-better-conversation/.

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