What makes a good conversation?

When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening.

In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

Celeste Headlee has worked in public radio since 1999, as a reporter, host and correspondent. She was the Midwest Correspondent for NPR before becoming the co-host of the PRI show “The Takeaway.” After that, she guest hosted a number of NPR shows including “Tell Me More,” “Talk of the Nation,” “Weekend All Things Considered” and “Weekend Edition”. Celeste also anchored election coverage for PBS World in 2012 and was a regular guest on CNN.

Celeste holds multiple degrees in music and still performs as a professional opera singer. She appears on the album “Classically Blue” from gospel artist Lea Gilmore.

Of the ten tips to having a great conversation, arguably the single most important is being present. All too often conversations are conducted while people are multi-tasking and however much we think we are being focussed and present ourselves, our interlocutor can pick up very quickly that we are at best somewhat distracted and at worst absorbed elsewhere. That being the case, it is highly unlikely that the conversation will be a meaningful one and this applies to both our professional life and our personal life. Being present requires us to put down our electronic devices, free our minds of things that may have happened during the day or need attention and direct all our attention to the other person.

Just one of the ten invaluable tips for having great conversations.