Celeste Headlee has nearly 20 years on-and off-air experience in both local and national public radio productions and television. She hosts the weekday show “On Second Thought” in Atlanta, for the GPB radio network. She was previously a regular guest host for Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, Weekend All Things Considered and other NPR shows. She is a political consultant for World Update on the BBC.
Previously, she was the co-host of the morning-drive daily news show, The Takeaway from WNYC and PRI. Before that position, she was the Midwest Correspondent for NPR’s Day to Day, covering everything from the auto industry to art, the 2008 presidential election to toilet smuggling. From 2001-2006, Headlee was a reporter at public radio station WDET Detroit. She started her radio career as the local Morning Edition anchor at public radio station KNAU in Flagstaff, Arizona. Her news reports have aired on NPR, the Pacifica Network, National Native News and Public Radio International. She has also reported for the Detroit News. Her work has been honored with multiple awards from the Michigan Chapter of the Associated Press, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, and the Metro Detroit Society of Professional Journalists.
“We Need to Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challenged, disconnected age. Headlee is a talented, honest storyteller, and her advice has helped me become a better spouse, friend, and mother.” (Jessica Lahey, author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure)
Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals.
And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist—and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication. For example:
• Be There Or Go Elsewhere. Human beings are incapable of multitasking, and this is especially true of tasks that involve language. Think you can type up a few emails while on a business call, or hold a conversation with your child while texting your spouse? Think again.
• 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.
• Hide Your Phone. Don’t just put down your phone, put it away. New research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can negatively impact the quality of a conversation.
Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your kid’s teacher at school, an employee at work, or the people you love the most—Headlee offers smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.