The reason so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more of what he is intending to say than of what others are saying, and we never listen when we are planning to speak.—Friendly Chat
"Discreetly keep most of your radical opinions to yourself," once advised the lamented Grenville Kleiser. "When with people, be a listener a large part of the time. Be considerate in every word and act, and resist the tendency to say clever things. The best evidence of your culture is the tone and temper of your conversation."—Sunshine Magazine
You can never hope to become a skilled conversationalist until you learn how to put your foot tactfully through the television set.
Good conversation like good champagne should sparkle and bubble at the brim.—Ashley Montague, House and Garden
One secret of successful conversation is learning to disagree without being disagreeable. It isn't what but how you speak that makes all the difference. Ben Franklin used to remark diplomatically, "On this point, I agree. But on the other, if you don't mind, may I take exception?"—Jack Harrison Pollack, Family Circle
"My dog understands every word I say."
"Do you doubt it?"
"No, I do not doubt the brute's intelligence. The scant attention he bestows upon your conversation would indicate that he understands it perfectly."
THE TALL AND AGGRESSIVE ONE—"Excuse me, but I'm in a hurry! You've had that phone twenty minutes and not said a word!"
THE SHORT AND MEEK ONE—"Sir, I'm talking to my wife."—Puck.
HUS (during a quarrel)—"You talk like an idiot."
WIFE—"I've got to talk so you can understand me."
Irving Bacheller, it appears, was on a tramping tour through New England. He discovered a chin-bearded patriarch on a roadside rock.
"Fine corn," said Mr. Bacheller, tentatively, using a hillside filled with straggling stalks as a means of breaking the conversational ice.
"Best in Massachusetts," said the sitter.
"How do you plow that field?" asked Mr. Bacheller. "It is so very steep."
"Don't plow it," said the sitter. "When the spring thaws come, the rocks rolling down hill tear it up so that we can plant corn."
"And how do you plant it?" asked Mr. Bacheller. The sitter said that he didn't plant it, really. He stood in his back door and shot the seed in with a shotgun.
"Is that the truth?" asked Bacheller.
"H—ll no," said the sitter, disgusted. "That's conversation."
Conversation is the laboratory and workshop of the student.—Emerson.
A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years' study of books.—Longfellow.