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Conversation is a dialogue, an exchange of ideas between two or more people reflecting their thoughts values, ideas and even upbringing. The art of conversing well is not a gift one is born with, but is a skill which is cultivated.
"Conversations can be face to face or distant (through the Telephone, and now over the Internet); and should be pleasant, witty and intelligent, without being artificial, hurting or conceited."

Starting a Conversation

  • Be armed with a wide base of knowledge on various aspects of life. Don't narrow your vision and don't gain knowledge only about things which interest you. Living in a cosmopolitan society, in order to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation with different people from different backgrounds, one has to have knowledge of various fields. The reading list should include newspapers and magazines related to current affairs in politics, business, art, music, sports, film, fashion, etc.
  • A polite way of starting a conversation when meeting a person, perhaps for the first time would be a simple salutation: "Hi, How are you?". If this is directed to us, it may be answered with a brief "Good or 'very well'; and you?"
  • It may happen that you are not very familiar with the people present at a gathering or a social party and you feel lost. At such times, confidently walk up to the person you would like to make friends with, and introduce yourself for instance "Hi! I am Peter. Sandy (the host) and I are college friends."

Some Do's and Don'ts

  • DO start a conversation with a topic which interests everyone present at that point.
  • DO be a good listener. Show keen interest in the other person's conversation and his viewpoint. Have a pleasant and attentive expression on your face while listening to others and don't get engrossed in private thoughts.
  • DO develop the art of narrating a joke or a funny story with telling effect. Practice telling the joke or story with family members first for their reaction until you are confident enough of narrating it to others.
  • DO talk according to the time and place. Avoid interrupting or cracking a joke in the midst of a serious conversation and if you do so, quickly apologize.
  • DO try and find out, in advance, about the background of the person whom you are going to meet; and brush up on topics that would interest him/ her. Make an effort to get some information about the family, for instance - whether the spouse is working or a housewife, age and whereabouts of the children if any.
  • DON'T give a detailed health bulletin when generally asked, "How are you?", Only in the case of a recent operation, mishap or illness, the other person is interested in knowing about some details.
  • DON'T talk about personalities unknown to others in the group or indulge in name dropping for showing off.
  • DON'T impose your point of view on the other person and don't ridicule others point of view or contradict very strongly.
  • DON'T talk at length about your family members unless the other person is well acquainted with them. Parents commit the mistake of talking at length about their children.
  • DON'T give unnecessary details. A good conversation is witty and brief.
  • DON'T crack vulgar, crass or cruel jokes; they show signs of ill-breeding. Jokes, which are good in taste, should be narrated.

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