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Book of the Week: We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter – The Power of Words to Change Lives

By Margaret Manning September 29, 2018 Lifestyle

I have been in the communications field all my life. My first job in high school was managing a community for a country and western radio station, then I worked in bookstores for 8 years.

My own book, The Hospice Alternative: Living with Dying, was published in 1983. I worked in communications and marketing roles at Microsoft for 18 years and now daily write articles for Sixty and Me. So, I know and appreciate the power of words.

Words Can Transform Lives

Words have huge influence in changing minds, reinforcing positions, transmitting emotion and forging relationships. This is why I chose a non-fiction book to feature this week.

We Need to Talk discusses how we need to talk to each other in ways that deepen and connect rather than trivialize and separate.

I think most women in our Sixty and Me community would agree that we need to talk to one another in more thoughtful and deliberate ways. It’s how we have always tried to direct engagement on our channels.

The author, Celeste Headlee, provides a road map for more respectful and open dialog. She talks about the disconnection prevalent in our modern world and how we truly have lost the art of meaningful conversation.

She explains the obvious – that many of us now communicate from behind electronic screens, and as a result feel less connected and more divided than ever.

10 Strategies for Improving the Way We Converse

We Need to Talk offers 10 strategies for improving conversational skills. Headlee takes examples from history and social events that have demonstrated the power of words. Her claim is that a great conversation is really a matter of a few simple habits.

Most importantly, she offers actionable ideas for getting away from our digital devices and into the real world of engagement and meaningful dialog. You can read the book to get a deep dive into the 10 strategies, but they include single-tasking, checking your biases and hiding your phone.

So, whether you’re struggling to communicate with your boss, your neighbour or someone you love, this book offers smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.

Celeste Headlee’s TED talk on this subject has been viewed over 12 million times, and supports the ideas outlined in her book. It’s clear that people believe in what she is describing, but as we find every day, the strategies are hard to implement.


In this always connected world, we hide behind our screens – isn’t it time to talk to each other face to face?

The author’s advice is simple.

“Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

Which book did you read this week? Have you read “We need to Talk” by Celeste Headlee? Do you agree that words can transform lives? Is it easy for you to connect with other people? Please share your thoughts and experiences with the community!

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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