How to Have Better Conversations With Bestselling Author Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee

Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews experts, authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee is a journalist, author, speaker, and co-host of Retro Report, a weekly series on PBS. 

She’s the author of several books including We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter and Do Nothing

Her TEDx talk, "10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation," is one of the most viewed talks of all time. She’s a well-respected expert in communication and how to hold uncomfortable conversations.

Why Celeste Headlee Is Mentally Strong

Many relationship problems and mental health issues stem from communication problems. Communication mistakes, like avoiding uncomfortable subjects and delivering bad news in an unhelpful manner, contribute to a lot of suffering in life. 

Celeste is invested in teaching people how to communicate differently. She tackles uncomfortable subjects and wants other people to know that talking about difficult topics can be the key to healing. 

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • Why Zoom meetings are bad for your brain (and what to do about them)
  • How to hold difficult conversations with people
  • Why we enjoy talking about ourselves so much 
  • How to become better at making conversation
  • Why we should stop using the word ‘introvert
  • What to do when you feel anxious about a social situation
  • How loneliness affects your brain
  • How to deliver bad news
  • How to start addressing race in conversations

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

Whether you want to create a boundary with your mother who gives you unsolicited advice or you want to bring up your concern about your friend’s drug use, it’s tempting to avoid tough subjects. But avoiding those conversations can take a serious toll on your emotional well-being. 

It takes mental strength to speak up and to listen to others who don’t share your viewpoints. And although those conversations may be distressing, they can help you feel better in the long term.

Holding uncomfortable conversations can improve your relationships. However, they can also create positive changes that might reduce your distress. 

Fortunately, there are skills you can learn to help you hold better conversations. And Celeste is teaching people how to develop those skills to tackle uncomfortable subjects and become better communicators.

Quotes From Celeste

Celeste Headlee

All of the other problems that we have, no matter how tragic, transient and difficult—whether it be climate change, whether it be vaccinations, whether it be the pandemic period—all of those things are impossible to solve without good communication.

— Celeste Headlee
  • "You can watch the brain scans of people who just bounce from one meeting to another and watch the brain become more and more anxious and stressed out."
  • "You can be very, very awkward in conversation and after training become engaging and interesting and a great conversationalist."
  • "People think they're much better at reading other people than they are. And this causes a lot of communication problems."
  • "If you're going to call somebody out, rather than saying, ‘you are a racist,’ say, ‘that was a racist thing to say.’"

More About the Podcast

The Verywell Mind Podcast is available across all streaming platforms. If you like the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.