Tips for having better conversations — and daring to disagree

Photo: Carsten Tolkmit

Don’t let your dinner conversation turn into this. (Photo: Carsten Tolkmit)

Having conversations — political or otherwise — isn’t always easy. Below, six great talks on opening up, getting out what you’re trying to say, listening well and even disagreeing:


In this fascinating talk from TEDxOlympia, mediator Madeline Poultridge shows how you can use conflict resolution techniques to get through tough — and everyday — conversations.


In this talk from TEDxClaremontColleges, activist Jackson Darling-Palacios highlights how complex conversations helped him work through a difficult relationship with his mother after coming out — and shares lessons learned from discussions while campaigning for LGBTQ rights.


Management analyst Margaret Heffernan says good disagreement is central to progress. In this eye-opening talk, she shares how disagreement can foster the growth of new, powerful ideas — and collaboration to see them through.  (Watch Heffernan’s TEDxDanubia talk here).


Reporter and radio host Celeste Headlee knows a lot about talking with people: her job depends on it. In this fun and hilarious talk from TEDxCreativeCoast, she shares ten ways to have better conversations.


In this touching talk, Ash Beckham offers a fresh approach to empathy and openness. It starts with understanding that everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced hardship. The only way out, says Beckham, is to open the door and step out of your closet — and have a hard conversation.


Researcher Robb Willer says that we’re all really bad at trying to get “the other side” to believe what we say. At TEDxMarin, he shares why — and what we can do about it.

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