Notes from The Art of Conversation
by Milton Wright, 1936
The ability to talk well can be cultivated.
Interest you must have if your conversation is to be successful.
Interest can lie primarily in the subject or the person, the latter being by far the surer ingredient for success.
To chatter is easy. To talk resultfully with the hostile, suspicious, indifferent or even friendly is an art.
To really become a good conversationalist over the long term it is necessary to acquire the habit of conscientiously stocking your mind with facts and information and then forming opinions on the basis of that knowledge.
A monologue is not a conversation.
Silence plays an important part in effective conversation just as it does in music.
Masters of the art of conversation rarely give advice, and then, usually, only when requested. It is given tentatively and without seeming to impose their wishes.
The secret of giving advice successfully is to mix it up with something that implies a real consciousness of the adviser's own defects, and as much as possible of an acknowledgment of the other party's merits.
To plant a suggestion is a real test of conversational skill.