to carry on really good conversation, just follow these rules

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

MOST OF US CONVERSE with someone every day of our lives. 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.

These “rules” were given me by Arnold An­derson is a re­tired Boeing en­gi­neer. He was a reg­ular member of our Sat­urday morning coffee klatch where he was a lively raconteur.

Sadly, he went to that big hangar in the sky a few years ago, but I still try to keep to his rules when con­versing with others every day of my life . . .

GoodConversation: painting by Arnold Lakhovsky titled CONVERSATION from 1935.

FEATURED IMAGE: The painting at the top of this page is by Arnold Lakhovsky and is ti­tled “Con­ver­sa­tion” (1935).


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