Emily post manners on The Art of Conversation. Seek “Conversation topics” in a Miss Manners Advice style and the importance of manners in conversation. Based on a book on manners, Emily Post’s Etiquette

The art of good conversation is essential to elegance. About to attend a party? Would you like to gain an extra bit of confidence?

The good conversationalist:

Ideal conversation is an exchange of thought, not an eloquent exhibition of wit or oratory.Emily Post’s Etiquette

opening party at the Tribeca Grand Hotel for Volta NY Art Fair

The Good Conversationalist

From Emily Post Manners,

Contrary to popular belief, it is not essential to have a wide vocabulary or have lots of experiences.

A good conversationalist is not to be a naturally a chatty person either.

Conversation is a two way street. It’s a give and take situation.
However, we all know how some conversations are one-sided!

Self Check Time!

We’ve all see the WORST types:

  • The one who never stops talking. Your turn to speak never comes.
  • The one who interrupts.
  • The one who gives mono answers.
  • The one who always argues.
  • The one who has no opinion.
  • The one who sounds rude (and is probably rude).
  • The one who asks too many questions.

Now, don’t fret if you see yourself in the list above.

ALL of us has been one of them at some point or another. The point of the page is to learn to be a good conversationalist, and you’re already on your way! You’re expanding your knowledge.

What is your word worth?

Great minds discuss ideas,
average minds discuss events,
small minds discuss people – Eleanor Roosevelt

An elegant woman knows her words are worth something.

They are a reflection of her character. Keeping your word is a good thing but the essence of your words are important too. Read more about how to give value to your words.

Don’t Be Afraid To Pause

Emily Post Manners say there is a simple guideline which one can live by and refrain from being a pest or a bore: (Which I think is pretty funny, by the way.)

The Golden Rule To Refrain From Being A Pest or Bore

Stop and think.

Audrey Hepburn said her mother told her “I” in conversations is boring.

See Audrey Hepburn Quotes.

Don’t Panic!

While not all of us are extroverts and are natural in the social scene, Emily Post Manners says if you dread meeting strangers because you might feel awkward without anything to say, or do not relate, don’t panic.

“Most conversational errors are committed not by those who talk too little but by those who talk too much.”

If you can’t think of anything to say, remember to ask general questions and don’t be afraid of pausing or saying, “Hmmm”, “That’s an interesting point to buy some time.”

Don’t worry about the rest of the conversation. Just give one response at one time.

group of women talking

Not from Emily’s Post manners, but my personal experience is…when talking to strangers, the best approach is to ask a few general questions. After that, you can develop or branch off to a more interesting topic and discover some common interests.
Otherwise, you can ‘give’ something of yourself and offer information to try to generate more conversation topics. For example, try describing something you have been doing lately, planning a trip, a vacation, a new hobby, cooking, food etc.

Throw the ball in their court – ask for suggestions (keep it light-hearted and general), ask for an opinion, ideas.

Practice and you’ll eventually be able to talk to anyone.

One tip to remember is to also avoid being in deep conversation with someone for more than five minutes. In a party or social setting, the idea is to move around. Don’t linger or try to make a friendship out of a new person. See also Social Ease – Grace Your Way Through Parties.


Less Talk, More Listening

Listening In the Art of Conversation

  • Really listen.
  • Look at the person when he/she is talking and pay attention
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Don’t give advice.
  • Rely on sincerity, clarity and intelligent choice of subject.

Are You Giving A Speech?

A funny passage I just had to include which goes something like this, “If there are three participants in a conversation and the one who talks more than one third of a time isn’t having a conversation but giving a speech.”

Continue to page two of emily post manners on the art of conversation.

Suggested Reading

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