The Art of Conversation

The Art of Conversation

Posted in the Hobbies Forum

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“...so I can see you.”

Since: Jul 07

Love Conquers All

#1 Jan 17, 2010
I recently visited a nearby estate sale and purchased a correspondence
course printed in 1939 –“The Ethel Cotton Course in Conversation”.

After some perusal of the table of contents and a quick reading of the first lesson, I began to realize the great deficiency in our day, of people who have the ability to sit down and converse in depth about anything.

Conversation is a skill to be learned – a basic skill every bit as important as most other necessary survival skills, one which should be taught right along with reading and writing. Yet it seems to have been dropped out of the process of education in general.

Is it possible to have a respectful, deep, thoughtful conversation among people who hold differing or opposite points of view concerning the subject matter? Is it possible to discuss another’s opinion without necessarily agreeing with it?

This is an experiment in conversation, if you will, a place of learning and intelligent conversation. In fact, it is also a place ABOUT conversation. Learning to see things through the eyes of others – listening to understand rather than to find something to attack - and learning how to express opinions thoughtfully, honestly and confidently.

Something beyond chit-chat or surface talk.

According to Ms. Cotton… the first basic principal of conversation:

Don’t be silent.

If you are consistently silent, people will think you are boring and have nothing to say or that you are uninterested or unfriendly and don’t care to talk.

The second principal:

Don’t chatter.

Listening is an essential part of conversation.
Try to understand what others are saying and see it from their viewpoint.

The third principal:

Stay with the subject. Listen carefully and help the conversation move forward in order to fully explore its depth and allow all members to express their thoughts.

The fourth principal:

Guide the conversation:

At times, it is a courtesy to change the topic, for the sake of all involved, especially if it is of interest only to the speaker. In such cases, a good measure is the question,

“Will this subject be of importance tomorrow?”

“BE BRAVE ENOUGH ”

Since: Oct 09

TO STEP IN MUD PUDDLES

#2 Jan 17, 2010
As I read through this I kept thinking of the "conversations" that are held here on Topix. How so often what might start out as a topic that could turn into a good discussion is lost because there will be some that can not discuss without at some point feeling the need to discredit someone else's opinion.

1st principal...don't be silent.

I think that there are many reasons that people are silent. With myself unless I have been part of the conversation from the beginning I fear that I might be intruding into a private conversation.

2nd pricipal...don't chatter (listen) This is probably the one that frustrates me the most from others...they are forming their opinions before they have even listened to what you are saying. In the world of Topix we have all received responses that we can't for the life of us figure out how their response applies to our original post. One can only assume they made the original post fit the answer they wanted to give.

3rd principal...this is the one that I am the most guilty of. I have a mind that wants to wander. One thought triggering another until I am off on a completely different subject.

4th principal...I call this knowing when to stop...which sometimes I don't.

I think that I have problems with 3 and 4 both because of the artist in me. They are both attributes of being creative. We are always letting thoughts provoke the next thought...it is part of how we come up with the next piece. We are also bad sometimes in knowing when our piece has reached it's end...

“...so I can see you.”

Since: Jul 07

Love Conquers All

#3 Jan 17, 2010
AnnieJ wrote:
...I think that there are many reasons that people are silent. With myself unless I have been part of the conversation from the beginning I fear that I might be intruding into a private conversation.
Yes, this is true especially if you have been raised to not interrupt another conversation. It seems so rude to just "butt in" when someone else is talking. On the other hand, we have to realize the forum is open and we are in a group. Two people can hardly expect to sit in a group and only talk to each other LOL.

“...so I can see you.”

Since: Jul 07

Love Conquers All

#4 Jan 17, 2010
AnnieJ wrote:
...
2nd pricipal...don't chatter (listen) This is probably the one that frustrates me the most from others...they are forming their opinions before they have even listened to what you are saying. In the world of Topix we have all received responses that we can't for the life of us figure out how their response applies to our original post. One can only assume they made the original post fit the answer they wanted to give...
That could well be. Another thought - people often tend to connect things that have already been connected in their mind historically. It probably makes perfect sense and fits well with the conversation to them, unless of course they are of the type that has one agenda and seeks to cause each topic to somehow be about that agenda.

“...so I can see you.”

Since: Jul 07

Love Conquers All

#5 Jan 17, 2010
AnnieJ wrote:
2nd pricipal...don't chatter (listen) This is probably the one that frustrates me the most from others...they are forming their opinions before they have even listened to what you are saying.
Another thought about this... have you ever been in a conversation with someone who constantly talked and you just listened, they they walked away happy feeling heard and understood and you were left feeling drained? It takes a lot of give and take to balance out thoughts and feelings - doesn't usually happen in a few minutes. I think a true, healthy discussion is where each person feels acknowledged and heard.

Okay, it can't be a constant warm fuzzy feeling kind of atmosphere with no one daring to express any opinions, that would be like living in some kind of prison, but I am convinced mutual respect is possible, even when discussing opposing views.

I think in our world we have mistaken "rudeness" for honesty sometimes. Feeling like it is always appropriate to say anything as long as it is "honest". I disagree with that sentiment.

Come to think of it, this probably veered off somewhat from your original point, but it seemed to connect when I first started.

LOL

hick-up

“squuuze me”

Since: Feb 09

Florida, USA

#6 Jan 17, 2010
hello ...

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#7 Jan 17, 2010
Hey OYE!

I think this is a great idea:)

“...so I can see you.”

Since: Jul 07

Love Conquers All

#8 Jan 17, 2010
Skombolis wrote:
Hey OYE!
I think this is a great idea:)
Why thank you, so it's your turn to talk.

:)

“...so I can see you.”

Since: Jul 07

Love Conquers All

#9 Jan 17, 2010
hick-up wrote:
hello ...
Hi Hick-up, how are you?

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#10 Jan 17, 2010
Open Your Eyes wrote:
<quoted text>
Why thank you, so it's your turn to talk.
:)
LOL

It is actually a lot harder than I thought without a starting point!

I think technology, while it has made it much easier to reach people, has really hurt the art of conversation. We are too used to instant access and quick text messaging types of conversations and the type of conversation has become very shallow.

Instead of calling someone on the phone we text them a few sentences. We have things like Twitter where what someone is wearing or what they had for dinner is somehow considered conversation. People are on Facebook and Myspace where their "friends" are people they know nothing about. Celebrity gossip has replaced news.

Part of the communication is out of convenience because people are busy. But IMO everything is geared to superficial brief exchanges versus in-depth conversations. I can't remember the last time I really sat down with someone in-person and just talked one-on-one.

“...so I can see you.”

Since: Jul 07

Love Conquers All

#11 Jan 17, 2010
Skombolis wrote:
<quoted text>
LOL
It is actually a lot harder than I thought without a starting point!
I think technology, while it has made it much easier to reach people, has really hurt the art of conversation. We are too used to instant access and quick text messaging types of conversations and the type of conversation has become very shallow.
Instead of calling someone on the phone we text them a few sentences. We have things like Twitter where what someone is wearing or what they had for dinner is somehow considered conversation. People are on Facebook and Myspace where their "friends" are people they know nothing about. Celebrity gossip has replaced news.
Part of the communication is out of convenience because people are busy. But IMO everything is geared to superficial brief exchanges versus in-depth conversations. I can't remember the last time I really sat down with someone in-person and just talked one-on-one.
Good point - do you remember when people used to go out "visiting"? They would just drop in to a friend's house, sit down and talk for an hour or two. I think all of that started to change when television came on the scene - and now, as you say, we have so many ways of constant communication it seems almost superfluous to sit down face to face and talk.

But I think we may have lost something precious in that way. We have gained a great number of shallow communication tools while giving up the quality and depth of our conversations, in a way. There is something about sitting down and talking, giving up time and other distractions, that brings more value to the conversation.

I'm going to make an attempt this week to actually visit with a couple of people - try to gain back something in my life that has been neglected lately - listen to what they have to say and share something of my heart in return.

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#12 Jan 17, 2010
Open Your Eyes wrote:
<quoted text>
Good point - do you remember when people used to go out "visiting"? They would just drop in to a friend's house, sit down and talk for an hour or two. I think all of that started to change when television came on the scene - and now, as you say, we have so many ways of constant communication it seems almost superfluous to sit down face to face and talk.
But I think we may have lost something precious in that way. We have gained a great number of shallow communication tools while giving up the quality and depth of our conversations, in a way. There is something about sitting down and talking, giving up time and other distractions, that brings more value to the conversation.
I'm going to make an attempt this week to actually visit with a couple of people - try to gain back something in my life that has been neglected lately - listen to what they have to say and share something of my heart in return.
I think that is a good idea. I have my Meals-on-wheels route again tomorrow and am actually looking forward to just some face-to-face interaction. There seems to be so little of it these days and most my good friends are all out of state now. Whe we do get together it is normally to watch a game or boxing or go to a movie. Seems like we seldom get the chance any more to go out to dinner and just hang out and talk.

“~ Prince of Peace~”

Since: Apr 08

~ And the greatest is LOVE~

#13 Jan 17, 2010
Hey there...

Good to see you all here. I hope I'll be able to converse properly with you. I tend to be short and sweet in conversing.

Will stop by later....

“...so I can see you.”

Since: Jul 07

Love Conquers All

#14 Jan 17, 2010
Epiphany2 wrote:
Hey there...
Good to see you all here. I hope I'll be able to converse properly with you. I tend to be short and sweet in conversing.
Will stop by later....
Okay, conversations don't have to be long to have quality and substance. Believe it or not, I tend to be short and sweet also in person. But somehow writing it down makes it get much longer. Good night, Epi.

:)

“BE BRAVE ENOUGH ”

Since: Oct 09

TO STEP IN MUD PUDDLES

#15 Jan 18, 2010
Open Your Eyes wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, this is true especially if you have been raised to not interrupt another conversation. It seems so rude to just "butt in" when someone else is talking. On the other hand, we have to realize the forum is open and we are in a group. Two people can hardly expect to sit in a group and only talk to each other LOL.
I agree...when it is an open forum such as this there really are no private conversations. However, there have been times when I have read along with some conversations for example between you and Hip that I have been so caught up in the exchange that for someone else to enter into it could possible upset the flow of it. I derive far more from those types of conversations by remaining silent.

Another side of this is there are times that I just don't have anything to contribute. It is possibly a topic that I have no interest in nor any desire to enter into the conversation or more than likely I know nothing about. Some might perceive that as being standoffish.

“BE BRAVE ENOUGH ”

Since: Oct 09

TO STEP IN MUD PUDDLES

#16 Jan 18, 2010
Open Your Eyes wrote:
<quoted text>
That could well be. Another thought - people often tend to connect things that have already been connected in their mind historically. It probably makes perfect sense and fits well with the conversation to them, unless of course they are of the type that has one agenda and seeks to cause each topic to somehow be about that agenda.
It is those that try to make the conversation fit their own agenda that I have no use for. If they want to talk about something specific then just say so instead of playing games and trying to manipulate you into saying what they want to hear.

“BE BRAVE ENOUGH ”

Since: Oct 09

TO STEP IN MUD PUDDLES

#17 Jan 18, 2010
Skombolis wrote:
<quoted text>
LOL
It is actually a lot harder than I thought without a starting point!
I think technology, while it has made it much easier to reach people, has really hurt the art of conversation. We are too used to instant access and quick text messaging types of conversations and the type of conversation has become very shallow.
Instead of calling someone on the phone we text them a few sentences. We have things like Twitter where what someone is wearing or what they had for dinner is somehow considered conversation. People are on Facebook and Myspace where their "friends" are people they know nothing about. Celebrity gossip has replaced news.
Part of the communication is out of convenience because people are busy. But IMO everything is geared to superficial brief exchanges versus in-depth conversations. I can't remember the last time I really sat down with someone in-person and just talked one-on-one.
I have a tendency to talk to just about anyone that I run across. My kids do not like to go to the store with me because I will stop and chat with total strangers.

For some reason I am very comfortable talking to strangers. Maybe because I don't fear them judging me. What I find is that most people welcome the one on one conversation. Once in the produce department I talked for an hour with an elderly gentleman about his gardens and getting tips on raising tomatoes. Then there was the gentleman that works at the local hardware that I ended up giving my e-mail to so the he could send me instructions on a victory garden. If I go to yard sales I end up being some place forever talking especially if it is an elderly person.

My point is that almost every day we have an opportunity for one on one conversation even if it is with strangers...we sometimes don't take the opportunity or we feel hesitant to speak to those we don't know.

Now the funny thing is that by nature I am a shy person. Growing up I spent most of my time hiding behind my mother hoping that no one would notice me. Learning to open up to other people is something that I have had to work hard on. There are still times that I feel out of place in a conversation but that is usually only with people I know.

“BE BRAVE ENOUGH ”

Since: Oct 09

TO STEP IN MUD PUDDLES

#18 Jan 18, 2010
Epiphany2 wrote:
Hey there...
Good to see you all here. I hope I'll be able to converse properly with you. I tend to be short and sweet in conversing.
Will stop by later....
Well girlfriend...you had more to say than "H" did...his was just a hello....

I admit...I can be quite wordy...I am trying to know when to stop...I just keep thinking of one more thing to say...like now!

“BE BRAVE ENOUGH ”

Since: Oct 09

TO STEP IN MUD PUDDLES

#19 Jan 18, 2010
hick-up wrote:
hello ...
hello ...

PS...I sometimes have trouble deciding when just a simple hello ... will suffice instead of running my mouth.

hick-up

“squuuze me”

Since: Feb 09

Florida, USA

#20 Jan 18, 2010
Well I see many of my fave women folk are here. Me likes hangin with the girls; they smell good.

And then theres Skom ...
~snicker~

Hello OYE, Lady J, Epi ...hello Skom ...

It is 6:45 a.m., Monday the 18th of January ...any body got any plans?

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