The more malicious among you who know me, have just finished rolling their eyes and saying to themselves, “What does SHE know about conversation. She takes an hour just to finish a sentence, and it’s STILL not the best thought-out sentence.” To them I will only say, “You should hear the brilliant conversations that go on inside my head. So there!”
Now that I’ve furnished my credentials to write this post, I shall plunge straight in.
If you hope to impress and amaze all with your sparkling conversation do NOT:
1) Chatter away like a psychotic monkey when you’re with other people. For one, if you’re talking THAT much, chances are you’re thinking aloud -- gibbering on about shopping lists, train timings, and the same anecdote for the 20th consecutive afternoon because the smell of coffee always triggers that memory. For another, though the thought has never crossed your mind because you’re too busy trying to eat and talk at the same time, other people might want to talk too.
2) When you’re telling an anecdote which took place in the evening don’t start with what you did in the morning “You’ll never guess what happened to me last night! …In the morning I got up, then I brushed my teeth, then I switched on the geyser, then I read the paper, then I took a bath...” Everyone is burdened with their own banalities, they really don’t want to have to experience yours second hand.
3) I don’t know about other people, but I find self-congratulatory speeches annoying (even if delivered in a self deprecatory way). The auditor in the conversation feels harangued somehow, like it is being implied that she’s a piece of shit. And the ‘self-deprecation’ doesn’t fool ANYBODY. “ I wish I could be more like you…I’m such a workaholic, I can’t read a book if I know there are chores to do.” This of course invariably follows some confession by the other person that she spent the weekend with her feet propped up on a pile of unfolded laundry, reading a book.
4) This next point is a tricky one, it works both ways: your conversation shouldn’t exclusively be an indiscriminate outpouring of venom about other people. Contrary to popular belief, it can be dreadfully dull after the first flush of excitement that gossip brings. On the OTHER hand, it’s also disquieting when you complain to a friend about someone else and they remain non committal. One invariably makes a mental note later on not to share anything more with such a person.
5) Do not go ON about people unknown to your listeners. “And then Rachna said, boy is Rachna a HOOT!...she said that Richa is the biggest slut EVER, though in my opinion that prize goes Varsha, if you know what I mean” (much waggling of eyebrows). No I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU mean, who are these people, why are you telling me about them, why don’t you just shut up?
6) Also, if the conversation has taken a different turn (once you stopped to draw breath and lost your monopoly) do not keep breaking in with a continuation of your story. It can get pretty hairy if there are several people in the dialogue.
A: I went to watch a movie yesterday, it was…
B: That reminds me I was driving down MG Road yesterday and this man just dashed in front of me.
C: How does A watching a movie remind you of that?
D: That reminds me of an aunt I had who was totally deaf…
A: the movie wasn’t great… the hero looked like Raju from the next building.
B: …so he runs in front of me, and I veer to the left and hit the lamppost.
C: Which aunt are you talking about? The one with the moustache?
D: She had a moustache and an ear trumpet. She wasn’t much of a catch my poor aunt. My uncle developed incurable depression towards the end.
A: the person in the movie had an aunt too. She was normal though…a little on the chubby side maybe…
B:…So I was, like..”Dude…do you have to dart across the road like that?”
Of course after all these don’ts some of my readers with nervous temperaments might be tempted never to indulge in conversation again.
That might actually constitute my Dos list. Communicate only if someone’s standing on your foot or such like. I’m telling ya, after having all these types inflicted on them, people will call you to every party and hail you as the greatest speaker EVER.