Celeste Headlee


Celeste Headlee is a TEDx Speaker and host of daily news/talk show “On Second Thought” at Georgia Public Broadcasting. She was the Midwest Correspondent for NPR before co-hosting the Public Radio Iinternational show “The Takeaway” and guest hosting a number of NPR shows including “Tell Me More,” “Talk of the Nation,” “Weekend All Things Considered” and “Weekend Edition.” Headlee has won numerous awards for reporting from the Associated Press and SPJ, and had also anchored election coverage for PBS World in 2012 and has been a featured guest on CNN and BBC.



We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter

WE NEED TO TALK: How to Have Conversations That Matter (Publication Date: September 19, 2017; Harper Wave; ISBN: 9780062669001; Price: $26.99) is the practical guide to the lost art of conversation that our society desperately needs - now more than ever.

Biologists say conversation is essential to our survival; but social scientists say we are less likely to compromise than ever before and our use of technology is exploding while technology makes us less likely to trust each other or converse. Add to that the cost of poor communication in the workplace and the home, along with the risks we run when we don’t communicate well (risks that can be life-threatening in extreme circumstances), and we have a picture of a society that cannot thrive without good conversation, but is losing the ability to create it. We are past due for a refresher course on personal communication—no smartphone required.

After nearly 20 years of talking to people professionally—from celebrities and Nobel Prize winners to truck drivers and kindergarten teachers—public radio personality Celeste Headlee has had a number of bad conversations. Through her failures to make connections, get her point across, or understand what was being said, she’s lost contact with family members, seen friendships end in silence, and missed important career opportunities.

These are the moments that stay with her, and she’s wondered whether they stay with other people, too. In an effort to understand what human conversation is and how society has mostly lost the ability to do it right, Celeste has learned how to master both the science and the art of good conversation. In WE NEED TO TALK, Celeste draws from her own experiences to teach readers how to hold effective conversations of their own. Her advice goes beyond simply looking people in the eyes, coming prepared with interesting topics, and nodding your head to show you’re paying attention.

Celeste instead lends such advice as:

Put down your phone: Studies show that even the presence of a mobile phone hurts the quality of the conversation and the strength of the connection between people.

Control what you can in an intentional and open way: We can’t prevent someone from having expectations, but when we explain what we want and what we want out of a conversation, we’re more likely to get what we want and need.

· 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.

Complete with research on the fiscal, social, and developmental costs of bad communication, We Need to Talk explains how to talk to anyone and why it's worth it to make the effort.