A gentleman's guide to the Art of Conversation !
A gentleman does not engage in a conversation with everyone he meets but he is cordial to all he does converse with.
How to initiate a Conversation ?
A gentleman always starts a conversation by touching upon a positive, non controversial subject. He never begins with a question that makes him the topic of the conversation.
If the person he just initiated the conversation with responds positively, a gentleman continues with a few more positive, non controversial questions. If, however, he finds that after a few of these the conversation is going nowhere he withdraws pleasantly.
Never does a gentleman enter into a conversation involving controversial topics with someone he just met or doesn't know very well lest his observation or remarks come across as being unpleasant to the other person.
At large gatherings where he doesn't know anyone, a gentleman will not stand alone on the fringes of the party but he tries to initiate a conversation by asking perfectly normal & appropriate to the place questions like 'Have you put in the order ?' when sitting on the same table with someone else or by saying 'Allan has done a splendid job of arranging such an enjoyable party'.
The Dos & Don'ts of Social Introductions !
A younger person is always introduced to an older person & not the other way around.
When a gentleman is introducing a man & a woman to each other he always begins by introducing the man to the lady & not the other way around.
In all cases a gentleman adds something positive & non controversial to initiate a conversation between the two people & then withdraws gracefully from the conversation.
If a gentleman does not speak French he makes no attempt of speaking it. Similarly if the gentleman quotes a great & well known personality he either gets the quote as correct as the original or he doesn't make the quote at all.
Above all a gentleman is never pompous or rude in introducing himself to others.
How & When to end a Conversation !
A gentleman understands that every conversation has an end & so he looks to bring a conversation to its timely close in a pleasant & thoughtful way.
If the gentleman himself is the one who initiated the conversation then he realizes his responsibility to end it as well. A gentleman, therefore, does not allow a conversation to drag on aimlessly & ends it in a direct but polite manner.
On Apologizing & being Insulted !
When a gentleman has been insulted in public or private he does not respond to the insult but simply keeps quite & withdraws from the conversation with his dignity intact but he never replies an insult with an insult & thereby descends to the same level.
When a gentleman makes a mistake by saying or doing something that has offended another person he owns up to his failings & never plays them down. A gentleman is always direct & sincere in his apologies.
Above all a gentleman is conscious of the effect that words have of offending another person; he, therefore, meticulously monitors his tone, tenor & the content of whatever comes out of his mouth. A gentleman never makes small talk.
These are some of the tips that I've found useful in increasing the quality of my own conversations & conduct - I hope you find them just as useful as I did !