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Celeste Headlee's Ability To Talk

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Imagine going through life without the ability to listen, or possibly worse, the ability to talk. When added, what is the sum of listening and talking? Conversation. Surely, conversation is valuable, so wouldn’t it then be of immense importance to learn how to effectively converse? This is where Celeste Headlee comes in. Headlee hosts a daily news/talk show titled, “On Second Thought,” on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Being a radio show host, Headlee knows how to hold a conversation. In her speech “10 Ways to have a better conversation,” Celeste uses her incredible amount of knowledge to inform the audience through the form of a TED Talk. The intent of the speech appears to be to inform, but Ms. Headlee clearly desires the audience to be persuaded …show more content…
She asks by a raise of hands, “How many of you have unfriended someone on Facebook because they said something offensive about politics or religion, childcare, food?” While the question may not be inherently humorous, the audience chuckles. At this moment, Ms. Headlee holds the thoughts of the audience at the whim of her voice. She continues with more jokes to ensure that her listeners are captivated. They are. Smoothly, Celeste transitions from jokes to explaining the problem. Why should the audience listen? Ironically, listening is the problem. As she states, “Pew Research did a study of 10,000 American adults, and they found that at this moment, we are more polarized, we are more divided, than we ever have been in history. We're less likely to compromise, which means we're not listening to each other.” Using numerical evidence Celeste has science backing her argument that, “A conversation requires a balance between talking and listening, and somewhere along the way, we lost that balance.” Now she has a thesis, the audience's attention, and empirical evidence. Now all that is left is an …show more content…
Like a hammer, Celeste hits each point on the head bluntly, without holding anything back. This change in style makes sense. Now that she has arrived at the point, it only makes sense to get right to it. As her title states, there are 10 rules that, if followed, improve discussions. Predictably, all these tips are about either listening or talking, and sometimes even both. The rules she teaches are clear: Don’t Multitask, Don’t Pontificate, Don’t use close ended questions, Don’t share every idea that comes to your head, Don’t say you know if you don’t know, Don’t equate your experience with theirs, Don’t repeat yourself, Don’t state specifics, Listen, Be brief. The first thing to be noted is the excellent use of the literary device known as Parallelism. In every rule, excluding the last two, the same structure can be found, “Don’t do this, but rather, do that.” Why are the last two rules excluded from the obvious parallelism? Let’s place “listen” in the usual structure. Don’t talk, but rather, listen. Clearly that statement is contradictory to everything said previously. Ms. Headlee never said not to talk, what she is emphasizing in her ninth point, is that one should listen more than they talk. Quite possibly, Celeste intentionally abandoned her literary device temporarily so she could keep the logic that held her speech together. As for the final point, Headlee’s only words were, “Be brief.” By saying only two words, she was

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