"A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet."
- Make sure your comments are relevant.
- Strive to share on topics that resonate with your audience.
- Try to bring a level of worth and enthusiasm to all your conversations.
- Be actively engaged in what is being said.
- Pay attention to affirm a point or take issue with it.
- Tune in to what you are being told rather than just waiting for an opportunity to speak.
- Even the most innocent sounding vocabulary may be deemed offensive when spoken from an inappropriate distance.
- As a general rule, eighteen inches is a good starting off point for personal space.
- Cultural differences and personal preferences should always be taken into account.
- Posture, facial expressions and gestures all communicate a message, sometimes stronger than the one being spoken.
- Intermittent eye contact shows genuine interest in what the other person is saying.
- Non-verbal communication should be open, warm and friendly without being too overdone.
"The personal vocabulary is the individual melody whose metre is one's biography."
Nobel Prize for Literature 1992
Words That Work
Courtesy will get you everywhere, so apply it generously in all your communications.
Saying "please" expresses respect and consideration. It also increases efficiency as polite requests are more apt to be complied with than curt commands.
Thank You & Your Welcome
An expression of appreciation leads to repeated reciprocation. Unfortunately, many are too busy or self-absorbed to extend this kindness; avoid such self-importance.
This phrase is ideal for expressing consideration for a possible inconvenience of another person. Use it when making a necessary interruption, a request, to acknowledge an error, to make a remark, or when leaving another person or group.
"I attribute the little I know to my not having been ashamed to ask for information, and to my rule of conversing with all descriptions of men on those topics that form their own peculiar professions and pursuits." John Locke
- Make sure that your chosen topic is appropriate for the particular audience.
- Personal matters such as family, finances, love life, background, etc., should be reserved for close friends only.
- Also, maintain composure and etiquette by politely redirecting overly nosy, vulgar, or obnoxious dialogue.
- Excessively talking about yourself, your opinions, or plans is generally frowned upon.
- Religion and politics are two more topics that should be waded into with caution.
- And as pervasive as it seems to be in modern society, criticism and gossip should surely be avoided, lest you find yourself next in line on the chopping block.
"We are prepared for insults, but compliments leave us baffled."
Aphorist, Professor of English, Columbia University
If an opportunity to compliment someone in the conversation arises, do so, but only if it is warranted and sincere. Being gracious in receiving compliments is equally important. Showing-off is as bad as insincere modesty, so make the effort to thank the giver and express genuine appreciation.