Charles Duhigg, author, “Supercommuicators,” Interview


Well, whether it is expletive filled letter writing or the kind of political campaigning we discussed earlier in the program, there’s one skill they both require and that is effective communication. Of course, throughout history and still today, it’s a tool of the powerful for both good and bad, but it’s also crucial in all of our daily lives, in the workplace, in our personal relationships, and more than ever online.


So, how can we communicate better and make that a force for positive change? Author Charles Duhigg explores this question in his new book, “Supercommunicators.” And here he is speaking to Walter Isaacson.


WALTER ISAACSON, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR AND CO.: Thank you, Christiane. And, Charles Duhigg, welcome to the show.




ISAACSON: So, this book, “Supercommunicators,” it’s all about how to have a great conversation, how to convince people. Tell me, what is the point of a conversation?


DUHIGG: It’s a great question. The point of a conversation is to understand each other, right? It’s not to convince you that I’m right and you’re wrong or that you should like me or think I’m smart. The point of a conversation and a conversation is a success, if I understand how you see the world and I’m able to speak in a way that you understand how I see the world. And that means that we could walk away from that conversation disagreeing with each other and it’s still a success.


ISAACSON: But what you talk about is that a conversation must make a connection. What do you mean by that?


DUHIGG: What we know about when we have conversations is that our neural activity becomes similar. And that makes sense because when I describe an 

emotion to you or an idea, you actually experience that emotion or that idea a little bit.


Within psychology and neurology, this is known as neural entrainment. And it’s at the core of how we communicate with each other. And so, when we make that connection, when we have a great conversation, when we feel like we’re on the same wavelength, it feels wonderful because our brains have evolved to crave that kind of communication and connection…. 

And one of the things that we know about conversations is that when we ask questions, when we ask a special kind of question known as a deep question, it tends to change a monologue into a dialogue because we really listen to the other person. And when we prove that we’re listening, they become more willing to listen to us.

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