Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Charm School - The Art of Conversation, Part 5

Welcome to Friday Charm School! Today is our final installment in the Art of Conversation.

Conversation Essential 5: The Good Manners of Conversation

The good manners of conversation apply whether in a large group of people or a small gathering of acquaintances or friends. Here are five points to remember:

1. No Speeches or Monologues. No matter how interesting you believe your subject to be, please don't monopolize a conversation. Ask someone else for his opinion, change the subject, or move from one group to another.

2. No Foreign Languages. In today's multi-cultural society, it is common for guests to speak more than one language, but it is the height of bad manners to speak in any language unknown to others in the group. The exception is if you have a guest who does not speak English. In this instance, you should speak in his or her language and translate for the benefit of others, or speak in English but translate for the guest who does not speak it.

3. No Guest Left Out. Involve everyone in your group in the conversation. Be sure to include late arrivals by bringing them up-to-date. Assume that everyone has at least one subject on which he can talk in a fascinating manner. Make it your mission to discover that subject and make each guest feel at ease.

4. No Attacks on Anything! Please, no blanket attacks on religion or politics. Reasonable discussions are fine, but be careful that any of these do not lead to heated exchanges or opinionated statements. As a guest, respect the household you are visiting.

5. No Strong Statements on Moral or Ethical Questions. The same reasons hold true here as for rule 4. Nothing should be said in any group which could offend any member of that group.

Always remember the first rule of good manners is to be considerate of others. Relax and enjoy the conversation!