Number one: Don't multitask. And I don't mean just set down your cell phone or your tablet or your car keys or whatever is in your hand. I mean, be present. Be in that moment. Don't think about your argument you had with your boss. Don't think about what you're going to have for dinner. If you want to get out of the conversation, get out of the conversation, but don't be half in it and half out of it.
Life is effort.I'll stop when I die!
Bill Nye: "Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don't." I put it this way: Everybody is an expert in something.
Cosmic apotheosis wears off faster than salvia.
You know, I grew up with a very famous grandfather, and there was kind of a ritual in my home. People would come over to talk to my grandparents, and after they would leave, my mother would come over to us, and she'd say, "Do you know who that was? She was the runner-up to Miss America. He was the mayor of Sacramento. She won a Pulitzer Prize. He's a Russian ballet dancer." And I kind of grew up assuming everyone has some hidden, amazing thing about them. And honestly, I think it's what makes me a better host. I keep my mouth shut as often as I possibly can, I keep my mind open, and I'm always prepared to be amazed, and I'm never disappointed.
My life has been a lie! God is dead! The government's lame! Thanksgiving is about killing Indians! Jesus wasn't born on Christmas! They moved the date! It was a pagan holiday!
We've all had really great conversations. We've had them before. We know what it's like. The kind of conversation where you walk away feeling engaged and inspired, or where you feel like you've made a real connection or you've been perfectly understood. There is no reason why most of your interactions can't be like that.
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Now, there's a really good reason why I don't allow pundits on my show: Because they're really boring. If they're conservative, they're going to hate Obama and food stamps and abortion. If they're liberal, they're going to hate big banks and oil corporations and Dick Cheney. Totally predictable. And you don't want to be like that. You need to enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn. The famed therapist M. Scott Peck said that true listening requires a setting aside of oneself. And sometimes that means setting aside your personal opinion. He said that sensing this acceptance, the speaker will become less and less vulnerable and more and more likely to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. Again, assume that you have something to learn.
Save it for the Semantics Dome,E.B. White.
Number two: Don't pontificate. If you want to state your opinion without any opportunity for response or argument or pushback or growth, write a blog.
All right,third time's the charm.
You have to listen to one another. Stephen Covey said it very beautifully. He said, "Most of us don't listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply."
So,as they say in Canada,pace oot！
Number five: If you don't know, say that you don't know. Now, people on the radio, especially on NPR, are much more aware that they're going on the record, and so they're more careful about what they claim to be an expert in and what they claim to know for sure. Do that. Err on the side of caution. Talk should not be cheap.
Pssh. White-people problems,Morty.
Y-you're like hitler,but even Hitler cared about Germany or something.
It's like the N-word and the C-word had a baby and it was raised by all the bad words for Jews.
Number nine: This is not the last one, but it is the most important one. Listen. I cannot tell you how many really important people have said that listening is perhaps the most, the number one most important skill that you could develop. Buddha said, and I'm paraphrasing, "If your mouth is open, you're not learning." And Calvin Coolidge said, "No man ever listened his way out of a job."
Listen,you have my words as a caregiver.
Number six: Don't equate your experience with theirs. If they're talking about having lost a family member, don't start talking about the time you lost a family member. If they're talking about the trouble they're having at work, don't tell them about how much you hate your job. It's not the same. It is never the same. All experiences are individual. And, more importantly, it is not about you. You don't need to take that moment to prove how amazing you are or how much you've suffered. Somebody asked Stephen Hawking once what his IQ was, and he said, "I have no idea. People who brag about their IQs are losers."
-Obviously,at some point,the Gazorpians became so evolved that they replaced females with birthing machines.The resultant lack of distraction and hen-pecking allowed them to focus entirely on war,so they bombed themselves back to the Stone Age,and now they just fight with each other over fake [Bleep] with sticks and rocks all day long. -You think it's efficient to get rig of woman? -You ever see a line for the men's room?
What does a rapist look like exactly,Beth? Is it a Slavic man wearing a denim jacket with a patchy beard and the scent of cheap champagne waft over his blister-pocked lips?
The young eat the old if you let them,Jerry.
Now, part of that is due to technology. The smartphones that you all either have in your hands or close enough that you could grab them really quickly. According to Pew Research, about a third of American teenagers send more than a hundred texts a day. And many of them, almost most of them, are more likely to text their friends than they are to talk to them face to face. There's this great piece in The Atlantic. It was written by a high school teacher named Paul Barnwell. And he gave his kids a communication project. He wanted to teach them how to speak on a specific subject without using notes. And he said this: "I came to realize..."
Now, I make my living talking to people: Nobel Prize winners, truck drivers, billionaires, kindergarten teachers, heads of state, plumbers. I talk to people that I like. I talk to people that I don't like. I talk to some people that I disagree with deeply on a personal level. But I still have a great conversation with them. So I'd like to spend the next 10 minutes or so teaching you how to talk and how to listen.
I was zuckerberging people before Zuckerberg's balls dropped.
-Because I don't respect therapy,because I'm a scientist. Because I invent,transform,create,and destroy for a living,and when I don't like something about the world,I change it. And I don't think going to a rented office in a strip mall to listen to some agent of averageness explain which words mean which feelings has ever helped anyone do anything. I think it's helped a lot of people get comfortable and stop panicking,which is a state of mind we value in the animals we eat,but not something I want for myself. I'm not a cow. I'm a pickle — when I feel like it. So...you asked. -Rick,the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family,you included, use intelligence to justify sickness. You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it's because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it's your mind within your control. You chose to come here,you chose to talk to belittle my vocation,just as you chose to become a pickle. You are the master of your universe,and yet you are dripping with rat blood and feces. You enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand. I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy,the same way I'm bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing,maintaining,and cleaning is it's not an adventure. There's no way to do it so wrong you might die. It's just work. And the bottom line is,some people are okay going to work,and some people...well,some people would rather die. Each of us gets to choose.
Don't hate the player,hate the game,son.
Why do we not listen to each other? Number one, we'd rather talk. When I'm talking, I'm in control. I don't have to hear anything I'm not interested in. I'm the center of attention. I can bolster my own identity. But there's another reason: We get distracted. The average person talks at about 225 word per minute, but we can listen at up to 500 words per minute. So our minds are filling in those other 275 words. And look, I know, it takes effort and energy to actually pay attention to someone, but if you can't do that, you're not in a conversation. You're just two people shouting out barely related sentences in the same place.
Oh,there's not enough room for all my genius,so I'm leaving you with my fear of wicker furniture,my desire to play the trumpet,my tentative plans to purchase a hat,and six years of improv workshops. Comedy comes in threes.
are not safe either. So this world that we live in, this world in which every conversation has the potential to devolve into an argument, where our politicians can't speak to one another and where even the most trivial of issues have someone fighting both passionately for it and against it, it's not normal. 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. And we make decisions about where to live, who to marry and even who our friends are going to be, based on what we already believe. Again, that means we're not listening to each other. A conversation requires a balance between talking and listening, and somewhere along the way, we lost that balance.
-No,because I need a living organism coated in gibble snake bile to attract a shmooglite runner. -Wait,what's happening? -Use that confusion,Jerry. It will make you wriggle more like an abandoned newborn.
[A good conversation is like a miniskirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject. -- My Sister]
To get wriggledy wriggedy wrecked,son!
And we stop listening. Stories and ideas are going to come to you. You need to let them come and let them go.
Pride cometh before the fall.
And that's how I took my storefront into the forefront of the (up)? front.
Number three: Use open-ended questions. In this case, take a cue from journalists. Start your questions with who, what, when, where, why or how. If you put in a complicated question, you're going to get a simple answer out. If I ask you, "Were you terrified?" you're going to respond to the most powerful word in that sentence, which is "terrified," and the answer is "Yes, I was" or "No, I wasn't." "Were you angry?" "Yes, I was very angry." Let them describe it. They're the ones that know. Try asking them things like, "What was that like?" "How did that feel?" Because then they might have to stop for a moment and think about it, and you're going to get a much more interesting response.
Isotope 322. This stuff's powerful,Morty,it makes Isotope 465 look like Isotope 317.
Now, I actually use the exact same skills as a professional interviewer that I do in regular life. So, I'm going to teach you how to interview people, and that's actually going to help you learn how to be better conversationalists. Learn to have a conversation without wasting your time, without getting bored, and, please God, without offending anybody.
So,to be clear,I sometimes reference the geopolitical complexities of the topic which is not the same as going to an anti-Semitic place.
There is no reason to learn how to show you're paying attention if you are in fact paying attention.
I don't do magic,Morty,I do science. One takes brains,the other takes dark eye liner.
Number seven: Try not to repeat yourself. It's condescending, and it's really boring, and we tend to do it a lot. Especially in work conversations or in conversations with our kids, we have a point to make, so we just keep rephrasing it over and over. Don't do that.
-Rick,what about the reality we left behind? -What about the reality Hitler cured cancer,Marty?The answer is don't think about it.
Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.
Take it easy. This is a blessing in disguise.
All right, I want to see a show of hands: how many of you have unfriended someone on Facebook because they said something offensive about politics or religion, childcare, food?
Oh, I get it. The old behind-every-great-man Amazon twist.
Many of you have already heard a lot of advice on this, things like look the person in the eye, think of interesting topics to discuss in advance, look, nod and smile to show that you're paying attention, repeat back what you just heard or summarize it. So I want you to forget all of that. It is crap.
But there comes a time in every man's life when he must choose the foundation on which his legacy will be built. One of compromise or one of blood.
And how many of you know at least one person that you avoid because you just don't want to talk to them?
So safe,so comfortable,so Shoney's.
Well,we can't all be raised like reptiles by a mentally ill scientist.
Number four: Go with the flow. That means thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind. We've heard interviews often in which a guest is talking for several minutes and then the host comes back in and asks a question which seems like it comes out of nowhere, or it's already been answered. That means the host probably stopped listening two minutes ago because he thought of this really clever question, and he was just bound and determined to say that. And we do the exact same thing. We're sitting there having a conversation with someone, and then we remember that time that we met Hugh Jackman in a coffee shop.
No. I'd say,given what we've been through,that I was right the whole time and any epiphanies about gender politics were a projection of your feminine insecurity.
You do the same thing. Go out, talk to people, listen to people, and, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.
Yeah,I'd like to get a 10-piece McNugget and a bunch of the Szechuan sauce. Like,as much as you're allowed to give me.
You know, it used to be that in order to have a polite conversation, we just had to follow the advice of Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady": Stick to the weather and your health. But these days, with climate change and anti-vaxxing, those subjects --
Employee of the month,ladies and gentlemen.
"I came to realize that conversational competence might be the single most overlooked skill we fail to teach. Kids spend hours each day engaging with ideas and each other through screens, but rarely do they have an opportunity to hone their interpersonal communications skills. It might sound like a funny question, but we have to ask ourselves: Is there any 21st-century skill more important than being able to sustain coherent, confident conversation?"
I'll make it up as I go.
One more rule, number 10, and it's this one: Be brief.
The reason anyone would do this is,if they could,which they can't,would be because they could.
That's...humbling and flattering.
(Applause) All of this boils down to the same basic concept, and it is this one: Be interested in other people.
This microscope reveals things beyond comprehension.
So I have 10 basic rules. I'm going to walk you through all of them, but honestly, if you just choose one of them and master it, you'll already enjoy better conversations.
Always wait for permission to feel accomplishment.
Number eight: Stay out of the weeds. Frankly, people don't care about the years, the names, the dates, all those details that you're struggling to come up with in your mind. They don't care. What they care about is you. They care about what you're like, what you have in common. So forget the details. Leave them out.