I’m sure you know someone who is a great talker. There’s the smooth talker, the sweet talker, the fast talker, the persuasive talker, even the dirty talker.
We all know how to talk; in fact, some of us can talk the idiomatic ‘hind leg off a donkey’.
The world’s greatest conversationalists like Socrates and Martin Luther were brilliant speakers. Sure, they could talk, and very well. They could hold the attention of an audience with wit and humour.
They were also good listeners.
But above all, they possessed an essential skill: they had the ability to foster interesting and convivial social intercourse among diverse groups of people.
Being a good conversationalist, is not just about talking. It’s also not something we are born with. It requires skill and practice.
What is good conversation?
Have you ever come away from a chat with a friend and felt that something had been missing?
Were they interested in you and your opinions? Did they monopolise the conversation space? Were the topics of discussion boring?
If your answer is yes to any of these, it probably wasn’t a dialogue and definitely wasn’t good conversation.
If on the other hand there had been an exchange of ideas, some upbeat spontaneity, maybe even playful teasing or badinage coupled with grace and conviviality…that was a conversation!
Good conversation is more like friendship: it works best between people who share basic values, if not beliefs, and whose politeness for each other is the honest expression of regard for each other’s feelings. – Robert Dessaix
Perhaps when you engage in your next conversation, treat the other person as you would a good friend. Courtesy carries weight in any situation and if you bring along your wit and interest in the world, you may be the person that everyone gravitates to—the good conversationalist.Join the conversation!
Photo: Bird Talk Alan Davey