Communication & Human Nature Expert

Celeste Headlee

Fee Range

$25K - $40K

Travels From

Washington, D.C.

At a glance:

As an NPR host and journalist, Celeste Headlee has interviewed hundreds of people from all walks of life. Through her work, she has learned the true power of conversation and its ability to both bridge gaps or deepen wounds.

Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist and radio host, professional speaker and author of bestselling book We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter. Her TEDx Talk, 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation, has been viewed over 21 million times. Close to 50,000 talks have been given at 10,000 events since the TED program launched in 2009. Celeste’s talk is one of the 10 most-watched talks posted on TED’s homepage.

In her 20-year career in public radio, Celeste has been the Executive Producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio and anchored programs including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She also served as co-host of the national morning news show, The Takeaway, from PRI and WNYC, and anchored presidential coverage in 2012 for PBS World Channel. As an NPR host and journalist, Celeste has interviewed hundreds of people from all walks of life. Through her work, she has learned the true power of conversation and its ability to both bridge gaps or deepen wounds. In a time when conversations are often minimized to a few words in a text message and lack of meaningful communication and dialogue abounds, Celeste sheds a much-needed light on the lost and essential art of conversation.

Celeste is a communication and human nature expert, reclaiming common humanity and finding well- being. She frequently provides insight and commentary on what is good for all humans and what is bad for us, focusing on the best research in neuro and social science to increase understanding of how we relate with one another and can work together in beneficial ways in our workplaces, neighborhoods, communities and homes. As a mixed-race journalist of black and Jewish descent, Celeste also speaks candidly about how to converse on race and other difficult subjects. People respond to Celeste because she connects the dots, explaining the “why” of our behavior in clear terms and providing actionable strategies for doing things differently.

Celeste serves as an advisory board member for Procon.org as well as the Listen First Project / National Conversation Project. As a Changemaker Award recipient, Celeste can be heard co-hosting season three of Duke University’s Scene on Radio podcast – MEN and this fall will co-host the PBS weekly series Retro Report, a show examining how today’s top stories connect with the past. Celeste’s work and insights have been featured on TODAY, NPR, Time, Cosmopolitan, Essence, Elle, BuzzFeed, Wired, Inc., The Knowledge Project, and many more.

  • 10 Ways to Have Better Conversations

    When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don't converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. "Go out, talk to people, listen to people," she says. "And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed."
  • Help Make America Talk Again

    This engaging talk shows how to have conversations with people you disagree with politically or otherwise. With numerous examples and insightful commentary, author and journalist Celeste Headlee makes the case that we can talk with people who disagree with us, and we must.
  • Don't Find a Job, Find a Mission

    Celeste Headlee sees finding a career which will truly inspire you is much like dating - it takes time and lots of experiments. And the ideal job is no more realistic than the dream man or woman.
In the course of her career, she’s interviewed thousands of people from all walks of life and learned that sparking a great conversation is really a matter of a few simple habits that anyone can learn.

—Inc. Magazine

The event went as expected and the attendees enjoyed Celeste very much.  The team’s response and comments afterward were that they really enjoyed her speaking to our group.

—Chobani

In a time when there seems to be an abundance of talking at rather than talking with, Headlee emphasizes the importance of having real conversations with people on all sides of every equation.

—Atlanta Magazine

Author Celeste Headlee on Creating a Meaningful Conversation

Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist, a public speaker, and the author of ‘We Need To Talk.’ She joins us on Cheddar to talk about changing the way you listen, putting the phone down, and ... Read more

by Cheddar

Celeste Headlee: How to Talk to Anyone

Use a tip from a TED Talk that’s been watched over 7 million times to make it easier to talk to anyone.

by Business Insider

Author Celeste Headlee Gives Advice You Won’t Like: Leave Your Phone at Home

We’ve all heard it before. It’s rude to talk on your cell phone while out for dinner with friends or to text in the middle of a meeting. But according to Celeste Headlee, author of the new book, We Need to Talk: How ... Read more

by Parade

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