How To Have A Better Conversation w/ Celeste Headlee

celeste headlee

How To Have A Better Conversation w/ Celeste Headlee


Celeste provides practical advice and insight on how to address uncomfortable  topics such as race to facilitate better conversations. She also shares her tips to avoid burnout so we can take better care of our wellbeing. 


Celeste Headlee is an American radio journalist, author, public speaker, and co-host of the weekly series Retro Report on PBS.

In her 20-year career in Public Radio, Celeste has served as the host of the Georgia Public Broadcasting program “On Second Thought”, and co-host of the national morning news show The Takeaway.

Before 2009, she was the Midwest Correspondent for NPR’s Day to Day and the host of a weekly show on Detroit Public Radio.


1-Celeste discusses what it means to properly communicate in difficult conversations


“There’s a few general things which is as soon as as soon as you realize that this is kind of a difficult topic, which we usually realize immediately because we’re very, very good at detecting awkwardness of any kind.

So as soon as you realize that the first thing you have to do is slow down.

We tend to be constantly thinking ahead in terms of what we’re going to say in response to what the other person is saying.
We’re constantly jumping ahead.

And if especially you need to always resist doing that but especially if it’s difficult, we need to slow that down and stop thinking ahead, but be right there in that present moment to really hear what they’re saying to you.

It’s so easy and difficult topics to miscommunicate and the reason for that is because we get emotional about topics.

We feel awkward, we feel uncomfortable, and we start to interpret things that they say differently than how they’re meant.

Like there’s a lot of emotionally charged words that some means something different to you than they mean to me .

if you start talking about motherly love for example. My mom doesn’t love me like that’s just the truth we do not get along.

And so when you say motherly love for you that may be shorthand for care and nurturing and unconditional love. That’s not what that means to me.

And so if I were if we were talking about, you know, relationships with families, I would really have to slow myself down so that I wasn’t using shorthand,

so that I wasn’t saying Oh, motherly love that means this, you know, she’s speaking ironically, she’s speaking sarcastically. I have to slow down and really hear what you’re saying.”


2-Celeste gives tips on how to set boundaries in order to avoid burnout 


you need to decide what your opening and closing hours are. If you’re trying to figure out if a store is open. You go on Google and you see what their their store hours are.

 You have to decide what the hours are for you. Like, what time in the morning do you open? Do you close for lunch? Hopefully you do.

And what time does that sign flip over and you’re closed and when you’re closed? be closed? Don’t check email. Don’t check social media.
 Don’t look at Slack. be closed.

It’s hard, but it’s like it has really has not been that long, since that’s the way we functioned”.

 if you’ve ever seen reruns of those TV shows, right? The man comes home with his briefcase, he leaves it by the door and he walks into his home and he’s done with work.

You know, he’s not opening that briefcase and checking his things at the dinner table. So it really hasn’t been that long and because it hasn’t been that long. It means that we can change it back”


In this episode, we also discuss:

  • How to have the most difficult conversations
  • Tips For Youth Starting Their Professional Journey
  • The Motivation behind Celeste’s Book “Do Nothing: How To Break Away From Overworking


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