Topic 27: August 4 2017: The Art of Conversation

1. Are you a greedy speaker? I am. It is a serious fault. Someone once told me angrily "you have two ears and one mouth. You should use them in that proportion!" An exasperated colleague once stuck a Peanuts cartoon on my office door. The cartoon said "It often shows a fine command of language to say nothing!" How can I cure this fault?

2. What is the best way to encourage someone into conversation?

3. In your opinion, what makes a good conversation?

4. What discourages you from having a conversation with another person?

5. How are your conversations influenced (if at all) by differences in age, gender, status, formal or informal situation, friend Vs colleague Vs acquaintance Vs service worker (shop assistants etc)?

6. What are the differences between 'small talk', gossip, and deep conversation?

7. As a man, when I was younger many women didn't really want to talk to me much because they thought I was trying to 'hit on them' (looking for sex). Usually I just wanted intelligent conversation, the same as with any man. Is this a common problem for both men and women? What is a solution? [Now at 71 I'm too old to care about this stuff!]

8. In your experience, coming a new country like Australia, what will Australians happily talk about, and what are they not interested in?

9. Everyone has lived a different life from you. They have had different experiences. Yet people often say they "have nothing to talk about". Really? Give some advice on starting conversations with complete strangers!

10. Japanese culture is famous for having long silences in conversations. In some other cultures, every moment should be filled up with words. How much silence are you comfortable with in conversations? Why?


27. The Art of Conversation ©Thor May 2017