is the interchange of ideas; it is the willingness to communicate
thought on all subjects, personal and universal, and in turn to listen
to the sentiments of others regarding the ideas advanced.
The aim of good conversation is to make quality communication between
individuals. Good conversation is more easily defined by what it is not
than by what it is. To come to any conclusions on this subject, one
should first determine: Should the intention be to make communication
with our fellows a free school in which to acquire information; should
it be to disseminate knowledge or broadcast the news; or should the
object be to divert and to amuse?
It might seem that any person with a good subject must talk well and be
interesting. But that is not always the case! Very often, you will find
that highly cultivated people are the most silent. Or sometimes, if
they talk well, they are likely to talk too well to be good
conversationalists. Some of them can talk long and hard about number of
interesting subjects, but were nevertheless recorded as bores in
conversation because they talked at people instead of talking with
In society delightful conversation is great gift. Good conversation is
not necessarily a vehicle of information and most people do not go into
society to get instruction gratis. If you observe popular people in
society, you will discover that to be natural, easy, cheery, bright and
pleasant is the catechism of good talk.
No matter how well educated a person is, he or she is often thrown with
ordinary mortals; and the ordinary mortals have as much right to talk
as the extraordinary ones.When people have time for leisure and want to
mix in society, their desire is to escape from the questions which
daily burden their minds. If they prefer to confine themselves to an
interchange of ideas apart from their ordinary work, they have a right
to do so.
In conversation with high profile professionals, never try pushing
discussion on the very subjects with regard to which their opinion is
most valuable. There is no doubt that is a great loss to the society,
but unless they themselves bring forth the topic of their profession or
art, it must remain in abeyance. Society has no right to force their
mentioning it. This leads us, then, to the conclusion that the aim of
conversation is to distract, to interest, to amuse; not to teach nor to
be taught, unless incidentally. In good conversation people give their
charm, their gaiety, their humor, certainly—and their wisdom, if they
Conversation which essentially entertains is not essentially nonsense.
Some one has drawn this subtle distinction: "I enter a room full of
pleasant people as I go to see a picture, or listen to a song, or as I
dance—that I may amuse myself, and invigorate myself, and raise my
natural spirits, and laugh dull care away. True, there must be ideas,
as in all amusements worthy of the name there is a certain seriousness
impossible to define; only they must be kept in the background."
The aim and
design of conversation is, therefore, pleasure. This
agreed, we can determine its elements:
Conversation, above all, is
dialog, not monolog.
Conversation is a partnership,
not an individual affair.
Conversation is listening as well
Monopolizing tyrants of society
who will allow no dog to bark in their
presence are not conversationalists; they are lecturers.
plenty of people who possess every qualification for conversing except
the power to converse.
There are plenty of people who deliver one monolog after another and
call their talk conversation. The good conversationalists are not the
ones who dominate the talk in any gathering. They are the people who
have the grace to contribute something of their own while generously
drawing out the best that is in others. They hazard topics for
discussion and endeavor each to give to the other the chance of
enlarging upon them. Conversation is the interchange of ideas; it is
the willingness to communicate thought on all subjects, personal and
universal, and in turn to listen to the sentiments of others regarding
the ideas advanced.