The Genteel Art of Conversation
Sunday, 19 February 2012
[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]
Conversation is a unifying human experience, a coming together on a universal plane of words. More than idle chit-chat to pass the time of day, conversation is a process of expansion of ideas, a learning about life, and a joy to experience. Conversations are not lectures, diatribes, a parrying of opinions or putting the world to rights. They are an exchange where both parties leave having given and received something quite unique which could only possibly have emerged from the confluence of these two beings. It's not a place to use up your daily dose of 10,000 words.
Unlike a dialogue, which is more formal, written or performed, a conversation is informed, informal, often in a formal or confined space, creating an intimacy restrained by being overheard in snatches by your earwigging neighbour or waiter. A man will never feel more loved than when he's been listened to, he will never feel more inspired than when he feels understood and his eyes are opened to something outside his daily routine. It's pillow talk, unpreceded by sex, untinged by any expectation of any either.
The art of conversation is learned, preferably young at the family dining table. Here is my check-list. Just like watercolour painting, it looks simple but actually it takes lots of practice. Strangers you're travelling with are always a good place to start. Worth it though when you remember that this is how the world will be touched by you:
- Put your guest at ease by finding what interests them first
- Be interested and interesting because you are generally aware...