10 Ways to Have a Great Conversation: Part 2 (369)

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In this solo episode, Mike channels Celeste Headlee’s TED talk called “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.” Mike puts his own spin on them by using his experience of releasing over 300 podcast episodes and interviewing many amazing people along the way. There are certain habits and questions that take a conversation to the next level by eliciting interesting topics and showing others that you are invested in what they have to say.

This episode is part 2 of 2, so make sure to check out part 1 first if you haven’t already. Being a great conversationalist is truly a skill, so although you may think you are already great at having conversations, the truth is that a lot of people don’t realize that they tend to make conversations about themselves. We may think we are very interesting, but there is an important balance to maintain in having a conversation that is a 2-way street. 

Mike’s remaining 5 tips for having a great conversation are: Don’t equate your experience with your guests, try not to repeat yourself, stay out of the weeds, listen, and be brief. With these tips, you are sure to find yourself having elevated conversations.

Episode resources:

Listen to Celeste’s Ted Talk: 10 Ways to Have A Better Conversation

Check out the video version of this episode below:

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Episode transcript below:


podcast, conversation, listen, story, talk, experience, celeste, number, sharing, weeds, episode, repeat, equate, ted talk, newsletter, good, inspired, greatness, single sided, today


Mike Malatesta


Mike Malatesta  00:00

On today’s episode of the HOW’D IT HAPPEN podcast I am doing part two of the 10 ways to have a better conversation. I was inspired to do this by Celeste Headlee, her TED talk that’s been viewed millions and millions of times. And I did one through five, last week’s Friday episode, and today I’m doing six to 10. Those are don’t equate your experience with your guests to number six. Number seven, try not to repeat yourself. Number eight, stay out of the weeds. Number nine, listen and number 10. Be brief. I hope you had fun with this. I had fun making it. Thank you Hey everybody, it’s Mike. And thank you for joining me for another Friday episode of the HOW’D IT HAPPEN podcast. These are the ones where I do them solo. And I talk about something that’s interesting to me. And this is a part two. In last week’s episode, I talked about the first five of the 10 ways to have a better conversation. I was inspired by Mike Rose podcast and specifically by his guests, Celeste Headlee. She’s a NPR journalist. She’s an author, she’s a speaker, she’s a musician, she’s got a wonderfully successful TED Talk 13 million or more views on that, Celeste If you want to find out more about her, that’ll be in the show notes. And as I said, last week, I do one through five. And here this week, I’m going to do six to 10. And if you missed last week’s go ahead and listen to it, it’s about 10 minutes or so. And I basically she put these 10 ways together 10 ways to have a better conversation together for her TED Talk. And I’ve just taken those 10 things and put my own spin on them based on my experience with almost 400 podcasts now. So here we go. Number six is don’t equate your experience with theirs don’t equate your experience with their so this is really important. Because when you are having a conversation with someone, and they are telling you their story, it is not an invitation for a one-upsmanship or one ops woman competition. Okay, so their story, whatever it is, whatever experience they’re sharing is always going to be different than mine. And it’s always going to be different than yours or whomever it is that you’re having the conversation, even if it sounds kind of the same, because it’s never the same. She says that in her talk, it’s never the same for me. And this is hard. Because, you know, we’ve been taught that, you know, if if, if someone has a like experience with you, that’s a good you know, way to connect with them and good way to empathize with them or good way to sympathize with them or whatever. And it can be it definitely can be, but it probably doesn’t work as well, when it is overtly like I’m gonna stomp on your story because I have one that’s similar to it. And here it goes, I’m gonna just go I’m just gonna go or because it often comes, it oftentimes can come around as being like a one upsmanship type of thing, like I mentioned. So to me, like when someone’s sharing their experience with me, it’s really about having grace. Like, even if I even if I can say, Yeah, I’ve been in your shoes, I’ve been in similar shoes. I have not been in your shoes. And so I to the best of my ability deflect when my instincts say, Okay, I’ve had an experience just like that. Tell it, here’s what it is. I may tell just a little bit of it. Because I, you know, I just or I might hint at it. Or I might say, Yeah, I’ve been there. And that’s it. I’ll just leave it because it’s really about them and their story and their experience. That’s what I’m interested in. That’s what I’m interested in sharing and letting them share. I mean, thank thank, thankfully, they’re sharing something like that with me and with all of you. Number seven, try not to repeat yourself. I hate when I repeat myself and man, especially with and I know I do it. Everybody does it, right. It’s kind of weird, because as a leader, you have to repeat yourself all the time. Because, like the saying goes when you get tired of hearing yourself say something. Most people are hearing it for the very first time and there is a lot of truth to that. But just like when my wife says oh, yeah, you told me that already. I got Dennett I hate I just don’t like that because I don’t like it when it happens to me. So when I’m doing a podcast I man I tried so hard not to. And it’s impossible not to repeat any story ever. But I try really hard not to repeat myself because it’s boring. There are two podcasts that I’ve used to listen to. And they’ve got good audiences and and stuff. But it was like every single episode, the one podcaster, for example, would tell you this exact same story, every single podcast and the other one that I’m talking about, or I’m thinking of right now is similar. It may not be the exact same story, but it’s one that’s that in both cases, these are guys that he’s told over and over and over again on his podcast and it’s just like, Okay, that’s enough. I do my very, very best not to repeat myself and when I do I’m aware of and I want to avoid that so it’s boring. So try not to repeat yourself even I’ve repeated myself on that a few times. Now. Number eight, stay out of the weeds. Stories are very interesting, but it’s really easy to go down a rabbit hole on the story, especially if you’re really interested in the particulars of it and lose everyone who’s is listening people, in my experience, they want to know about you, they want to know about what’s happened. They’re good with some details. But if I start getting too far in, and I do, I’ll admit that I do that sometimes it begins to be very boring and or people and maybe not even boring. But people just lose interest. Like, it’s like a movie where there’s too many characters with names you can’t pronounce after a while, you’re just like, I can’t pronounce the names of those characters. And there’s too many of them. So I begin to lose interest in their individual stories. And I think that’s what it’s like when you get into the weeds. Number nine, listen, so most of us don’t listen, this is Stephen. Jay copy, right? Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand we listen with the intent to reply. So rather than actually letting our ears do the work, we’re basically covering our ears, we’re not even hearing what the person is saying, because we are so ready to come back with whatever our next question was, or whatever our next thought was, and that is not going with the flow, which is number four. Yeah, that is not going with the flow. And it also I think, makes you more of an argue or, or a you miss a lot. You miss a lot. And it makes for a single sided conversation, because you’re always trying to be the smartest person in that conversation. So I track how much I talk to listen, my podcast, and typically it’s around 8020 8020. I listen versus talk. And sometimes I feel like all the hats, man, maybe it should be higher. Because you know, a conversation, regular conversation maybe isn’t a 20. But the more I think about it, it, I think it’s the right, it’s the right balance, because that’s my job. And my job is to ask a question that gets somebody talking about an experience, and then make sure that we don’t get too deep in the weeds, but we let it go long enough where the person has a chance to share their wisdom, their experience their story. And so listen at 20 I think it’s a good I think it’s a good ratio for podcasts or for any conversation. And number 10 Is the brief. It’s kind of weird, because these Friday episodes are brief, or 10 minutes, but also my my Monday episodes are an hour, give or take. And so it’s not really brief. But I like to think that the points that we’re making, and the things that recovering in the podcast, or in the conversation are when you break them all down all brief. And for me, at least on the in the 8020 thing I talked about in number nine, listen, I’m definitely brief with my comments. And my my, my dialogue in the in the conversation and it feels comfortable to me to be brief. So I think Celeste point in making this was there’s no need to say more than needs to be said. And I don’t know that I can top that much. So it’s a good place to end. That’s number 10 of the 10 ways to have a better conversation. Be brief. So thank you for investing your time with me today. I hope you got some value out of this podcast and the time that you’ve invested in it. If you like it, if you like what I’m doing, please subscribe to the show or follow the show or share the show because I could use the support. And I think there’s a lot of people who want to be impacted by the type of type of thoughts and the type of people that I’m sharing with the world. So thank you for that. And until next time, maximize your greatness. Make your future your property property that you will be proud to welcome everybody. Thanks for listening to the show. And before you go, I just have three requests for you one if you like what I’m doing, please consider subscribing or following the podcast on whatever podcast platform you prefer. If you’re really into it, leave me a review write something nice about me Give me five stars or whatever you feel is most appropriate. Number two, I’ve got a book it’s called owner shift how getting selfish got me unstuck. It’s an Amazon bestseller and I’d love for you to read it or listen to it on Audible or wherever else Barnes Noble Amazon, you can get it everywhere if you’re looking for inspiration that will help you unlock your greatness and potential order or download it today so that you can have your very own copy and if you get it please let me know what you think. Number three, my newsletter. I do a newsletter every Thursday. And I talk about things that are interesting to me and or I give more information about the podcast and podcast guests that I’ve had and the experiences that I’ve had with them. You can sign up for the podcast today at my website, which is my name Mike You do that right now put in your email address and you’ll get the very next issue. The newsletter is short, thoughtful and designed to inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you

Alexi Cortopassi

Alexi Cortopassi

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