John Backman, who helps groups and institutions communicate across divides, explains in this excerpt from Why Can't We Talk? that dialogue is countercultural, because it means approaching others from a position of openness rather than defensiveness.

Catherine Blyth, an British editor and writer, describes communication in this excerpt from her book The Art of Conversation as the spontaneous business of making connections, whether for work, friendship, or pure, fleeting pleasure.

Celeste Headlee, the host of a daily news show, reminds us in this excerpt from We Need to Talk that setting aside of the self — and all of the opinions, causes, beliefs, and biases that come with it — is a cornerstone of great conversation.

Editor David Isaacs, in this excerpt from The World Café, shares questions about relevance, authenticity, intention, assumptions, and purpose that can be used to plan an upcoming conversation.

Julia Tallard Johnson, a clinical social worker and creative writing consultant, points out in this excerpt from The Zero Point Agreement that in order to make progress spiritually, we need to engage in real conversations with each other and the world around us.

Diane M. Millis, founder and director of the Journey Conversations Project, helps in this excerpt from Conversation — The Sacred Art with the challenge of remaining receptive in the midst of difficult conversations.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn, in this excerpt from The Art of Communicating, elucidates the spiritual practice of beginning anew in our relationships with others.

William Spiegelman, an English professor and regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, observes in this excerpt from Senior Moments that those who excel in conversation have mastered the art of listening as well as speaking.

Sherry Turkle, founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, reflects in this excerpt from Reclaiming Conversation on whether the same technology that has created emotional distance between people can be used to fix the empathy gap.

Margaret J. Wheatley, president of The Berkana Institute, suggests in this excerpt from Turning to One Another that we can reweave a healthier culture by being willing to meet one another and listen.

Richard Saul Wurman, an American architect and graphic designer, illuminates in an excerpt from Information Anxiety how miraculous it is that we can string words together seemingly without hesitation in phenomenally complex sequences and thoughts that convey understanding.