“the art of good conversation” by arnold c. anderson

Everyone has conversations every day. They are usually seated, seldom are they walking about carrying on an in depth conversation. Often it is a matter of expressing opinions or making complaints, which is part of human existence. The person interested in an in depth conversation has to take some time and it usually involves plowing new ground, turning over new thoughts and perhaps making new discoveries or unearthing old ones.

In depth conversation is best carried on by people who have an inquiring mind and who read broadly. It is often between people who have had unique experiences, off the beaten path so to speak. Two or more people can produce very interesting dialog with excellent results.

When the conversation does not become contentious or argumentative it can be very enjoyable. Any conversation can benefit from following a few simple rules:

1. Listen while the other parties are talking and weigh what is being said. In other words, PAY ATTENTION and don’t interrupt.

2. Address the subject with your response.

3. Avoid telling asides that have no bearing on the subject. Make your remarks as clear and compact as possible, but use examples for clarity.

4. Citing historical illustrations can be very beneficial to the color of the conversation and excite the conversation.

5. If you want to make a point, wait your turn and be clear.

6. Do not interrupt the person who has the floor. Such action is rude and doesn’t contribute. Hear the speaker out.

7. Do not state your opinion if it can be avoided. If your opinion is asked for, that is different.

8. Questions are most effective in making your point or exploring other possibilities.


Mr. Arnold Anderson is a retired Boeing engineer. He is a regular member of our Saturday morning coffee klatch where he is a lively raconteur. (Should you decide to visit us for coffee, please don’t get him started with the Lars and Ollie jokes . . .) 

Comments, suggestions, additions, and arguments welcome!