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Let’s Talk: How to Have Better Conversations, with Nihal Arthanayake

An exploration of the evolution of dialogue and the science behind stimulating conversation

Conversation is broken. And while we know that effective communication can lead to greater fulfilment in our personal and professional lives, evidence suggests we are having fewer meaningful conversations than previous generations. The pandemic has exacerbated the trend towards fewer face-to-face interactions, while the growth of social media has led to heated arguments online. We are losing the ability to talk to each other.

That’s the argument of Nihal Arthanayake, acclaimed interviewer and broadcaster for BBC Radio 5 Live, who has spent years trying to understand what makes for a great conversation. In August 2022 he came to Intelligence Squared to discuss his new book Let’s Talk, which explores the evolution of dialogue and the science behind stimulating conversation. He revealed insights from leading authorities in neuroscience as well as from popular figures including Lorraine Kelly, former president of Ireland Mary McAleese, Professor Tanya Byron, Matthew Syed and many more, whom he has interviewed to find out why good conversation has eroded and how we can fix it.



Nihal Arthanayake

Acclaimed broadcaster and TV presenter

Acclaimed broadcaster and TV presenter. He currently presents the daily afternoon show on BBC 5 Live and the official Penguin Books podcast. He won interviewer of the year for the BBC Radio and Music Awards and his first book is Let's Talk: How to Have Better Conversations.   

Nosheen Iqbal

Host of Today in Focus, The Guardian's flagship podcast

Host of Today in Focus the Guardian's flagship daily news podcast and one of the top ten most listened to podcasts in the UK. She previously worked as The Guardian's women's editor, a features commissioning editor on g2 and as a reporter for the Sunday paper, The Observer.