Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How to be a good conversationalist

Dear Ms Manners

Say I'm at a party or a dinner and I happen to be sitting with a group of disparate people, only some of whom I may know. The topic of conversation may just veer to subjects I may not be knowledgeable about – say art or politics. How can one best work around conversations where they don't have much to contribute? How does one manage to stay 'included' and conduct one's self stylishly without revealing any lack of know-how or making any faux pas?

- Sonali Pandya

Dear Sonali,

I know what you mean; nobody would like to get labeled as a dim-wit. I cannot but stress enough the importance of communication whether it is verbal or non verbal.

Speech is an important form of communication. Each time you open your mouth, you reveal something about yourself to someone else not just in what you say, but how you say it! A good conversationalist is not one who chatters endlessly or one who pretends to know it all either. Developing effective communication skills would therefore be of primary importance to get you through sticky moments. Here are a few tips.

First and foremost, your body language should convey confidence. Don’t slouch- Keep your head up, shoulders back and sit up straight and tall.

Look directly at the person who is speaking, with spontaneous and undivided attention; the person who looks happy to see you, who is seemingly eager and enthralled with your conversation is generally good company. Always nod in understanding, even if what is being said is double Dutch to you.

Listen intently without interrupting when a person is speaking, storing all information in the far recesses of your mind for future use. ‘Remember that the sympathetic (not apathetic) listener is the delight of delights.’

Don’t pretend to know more than you do. If you do, but don’t appear to have any understanding or further knowledge of the subject, you will you look extremely foolish. ‘Only the very small mind hesitates to say “I don’t know.”

Besides, when in doubt, silence is golden; chattering inanely will merely reveal a shallow mind.
If ignorant about the current topic of conversation, wait for a lull in the conversation or a pregnant pause and subtly steer the conversation to areas of interest to you.

Contrary to popular belief, ignorance is never bliss. Though you are not expected to be a walking encyclopedia, knowledge is wealth! Read voraciously, especially about art, literature, culture and music. Brush up on current events.

Introduce your self to the unknown and converse with the person on either side you. Skillfully manipulate the conversation towards mutually interesting topics. Test a few, until you hit on one which gets you an animated/ eager response. Asking a new acquaintance a work related question is a good ‘ice breaker.’ In India, cricket is always a sure winner.

Speak softly, clearly and sincerely. Make your self heard without shouting, interrupting or talking over others. Speak your mind and convey your feelings, without being hurtful of another’s feelings

Society is meant to be a pleasant place; being confrontational or aggressive with people does not make for pleasant company. Politics and religion are absolutely taboo topics. Moreover, it is terribly rude to ask personal questions or make personal comments. Those that keep the conversation impersonal, light and happy are normally popular company.

Hogging the conversation, whining or bragging will earn you the tag of a ‘pest’ or a ‘bore’. Besides preaching should only be done from the pulpit.

Relax, tension, resulting from the feeling of ineptitude or inadequacy, can cause a mental block, or even provoke useless chatter. It would be worth remembering that those waxing eloquent may not be an Einstein clone either.

The first, last and only rule really is to stop and think before you speak!. If you “stop” you can’t chatter or expound or flounder ceaselessly, and if you think, you will make conversation that is interesting to your company rather than long-suffering.

I rest my case with this anecdote I heard in passing --- An elderly man, in an effort to be communicable, once told a new acquaintance, “Twenty years ago you were the prettiest woman in town!” How is that for tact!?


Blogger Adi said...

A lovely read! some really valuable points. Thank you sir.

Sunday, 28 June, 2009  
Blogger oakleyses said...

jordan shoes, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, nike outlet, burberry outlet, replica watches, tory burch outlet, tiffany jewelry, uggs outlet, kate spade outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, burberry handbags, prada outlet, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, polo outlet, christian louboutin shoes, nike free, michael kors outlet online, ugg boots, uggs on sale, christian louboutin outlet, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet online, uggs outlet, oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, ugg boots, louis vuitton, christian louboutin, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, prada handbags, gucci handbags, chanel handbags, replica watches, louis vuitton outlet, nike air max

Monday, 18 January, 2016  
Blogger oakleyses said...

air max, michael kors, mulberry uk, true religion outlet, hollister uk, nike air max uk, replica handbags, burberry pas cher, polo ralph lauren, coach outlet, new balance, lululemon canada, true religion outlet, kate spade, longchamp pas cher, michael kors pas cher, true religion outlet, nike tn, nike air max uk, coach outlet store online, ray ban uk, coach purses, louboutin pas cher, nike free uk, north face uk, timberland pas cher, north face, michael kors, abercrombie and fitch uk, guess pas cher, sac hermes, sac vanessa bruno, vans pas cher, nike roshe, nike air max, polo lacoste, hollister pas cher, true religion jeans, oakley pas cher, jordan pas cher, nike roshe run uk, hogan outlet, nike free run, converse pas cher, ray ban pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, nike air force, michael kors outlet, ralph lauren uk

Monday, 18 January, 2016  
Blogger oakleyses said...

oakley, hollister, nfl jerseys, ferragamo shoes, longchamp uk, abercrombie and fitch, iphone 5s cases, iphone 6 cases, iphone 6s cases, wedding dresses, nike trainers uk, herve leger, giuseppe zanotti outlet, mont blanc pens, jimmy choo outlet, north face outlet, hermes belt, insanity workout, p90x workout, nike huaraches, soccer jerseys, iphone 6s plus cases, lululemon, louboutin, baseball bats, valentino shoes, s6 case, nike roshe run, ipad cases, celine handbags, nike air max, soccer shoes, iphone cases, reebok outlet, ghd hair, beats by dre, new balance shoes, bottega veneta, hollister clothing, timberland boots, mac cosmetics, asics running shoes, babyliss, chi flat iron, ralph lauren, iphone 6 plus cases, mcm handbags, vans outlet, north face outlet, instyler

Monday, 18 January, 2016  
Blogger oakleyses said...

vans, canada goose outlet, montre pas cher, louis vuitton, moncler outlet, wedding dresses, canada goose uk, nike air max, canada goose, moncler, swarovski, barbour, thomas sabo, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora uk, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, doke gabbana, moncler uk, louis vuitton, moncler, gucci, ugg pas cher, canada goose jackets, ray ban, hollister, juicy couture outlet, marc jacobs, links of london, moncler, canada goose outlet, ugg uk, replica watches, barbour uk, ugg, karen millen uk, canada goose, converse, pandora charms, swarovski crystal, converse outlet, juicy couture outlet, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, doudoune moncler, supra shoes, canada goose outlet, canada goose, moncler outlet, louis vuitton, hollister, coach outlet, lancel

Monday, 18 January, 2016  
Blogger huda noor said...

شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام
طرق اختيار ألوان دهان حوائط المنزل
نصائح هامه لتنظيف البيت
استخدام الجاز أو السولار في تنظيف المنزل

Tuesday, 08 May, 2018  
Anonymous Tips Untuk Mengobati Gondongan said...

Article very interisting, thanks for sharing information

Pengobatan Untuk Menyembuhkan Radang Ginjal
Obat Cholangitis (Infeksi Saluran Empedu)
Pengobatan Untuk Menyembuhkan Abses Otak
Obat Untuk Mengatasi Nefritis
Pengobatan Atasi Sakit Perut Berulang
Pengobatan Untuk Mengatasi Pembengkakan Usus

Saturday, 23 June, 2018  

Post a Comment

<< Home