What questions do old people like to talk to?

How do I have a good conversation? Entertainers ask themselves.

I've never met anyone who wasn't interested in a great conversation. Just as often I meet people who find the conversational behavior of their fellow human beings underground. People who don't talk to each other, only about themselves or about others. People who don't listen, who interrupt you and who always tell the old bullshit. Who want to be right instead of getting to the bottom of a topic together, who top every story with their own superstories in which they themselves play the brilliant main role. It doesn't have to be. If we all kept at least one or the other of the following six rules of conversation.

Adolph Freiherr Knigge said: “Let others also have their say, give their part for general entertainment! There are people who, without even realizing it, are the phrasebooks of every place; and if they were in a circle of fifty people, they would soon become masters of the whole conversation. ”On dealing with people, I, 1, 34

Good rules of conversation

Rules for an Art of Conversation? Aren't the days of perfectly formed but bloodless conversation over? Can you still do anything wrong in a conversation? Oh yes you can. Precisely because nowadays one reveals oneself as a person in conversation - which one avoided as much as possible in the artful conversation of bygone days. Today we have every reason to judge a person by the way they act in conversation. How insightful or unreasonable someone shows himself, what and how much he has to contribute to a conversation, whether he warns against hasty conclusions or takes extreme positions at every opportunity, lets others get a chance or overruns them, allows dissenting opinions to apply or shakes their head contemptuously - everyone this says something about the person. Quite apart from the fact that it depends to a large extent on the behavior of all interlocutors whether a conversation is actually entertaining or whether it is boring and agonizing. And then you can forfeit your sympathies and screw up opportunities by talking - after all, there are conversations that something depends on, that can succeed or fail, that can shine or embarrass yourself. So I find at least two reasons why we are not completely naive, should not approach conversations completely thoughtless: on the one hand, because speaking is to the highest degree self-expression, and on the other hand, because our success in many cases depends on how cleverly, how well-considered we are in the conversation. Whether we like talking or not is irrelevant - even the born entertainer can get on the nerves, even the talented speaker can cut a bad figure as long as he does not understand what he is actually getting into during the conversation. The following advice therefore applies to both eloquent and lazy people.

Six etiquette tips for entertaining conversations

1. Every conversation is a community project

Without wanting to get too close to the techno lovers - the basic rule of modern dances does not apply to the conversation: each for himself and each until they drop! At least in a friendly conversation, it's basically about having as much as possible of each other. Therefore: do not take hold of the conversation, do not exclude anyone from the conversation, give everyone the same attention as possible and also include those who might feel pushed into a corner because they do not have a chance. Everyone who sits with us at the table has the same right to have their say and to be heard - including children, also very much older people, but above all strangers and shy people. Really good entertainers do not fall into the error that what they have to say is by far the most important thing; they do everything in their power to bring the others into play, to give them a cue and to give them the opportunity to step out of the shadow of the powerful linguists. So let's never let ourselves be carried away to slay the others in our group with a torrent of words, as if the conversation was about the personal audience rating! Anyone who says something deserves us to respond - there is hardly anything more impolite than to strangle him because at the same moment we came up with something infinitely more intelligent. who joins a group later and does not simply go back to the "agenda" after the greeting. Unless everyone is swept away by the swing of a lively conversation, you should interrupt your conversation calmly to give the newcomer the opportunity to speak about himself first - so you let him feel without much words that he is an enrichment of the evening .

2. Don't put yourself in the foreground

But I can't find anything objectionable in getting into a "singing contest", in which everyone tries to outdo each other with entrancingly comical ideas, grotesque stories or witty formulations - that one or the other drier mind gets neglected would be acceptable to take. But be careful not to want to be the center of attention all evening alone! Die-hard self-promoters can ruin any conversation; With them you will never experience what everyone understands by a successful evening: that the conversation flows naturally, the ideas bubble, one word gives the other, one doesn't want to stop at all and no one until late into the night Felt tiredness. By the way, very few self-promoters notice that they only have a single topic; I myself was once convinced that I had made an amusing entertainer with a lady whose guest I was for a few days - until I later found out how she had experienced our encounter. “A sympathetic young man” she is supposed to have said. “Versatile and studded. Unfortunately, he talks about himself all the time. ”Sometimes you have to be told something like that before you even notice it. Because it is undoubtedly like this: Anyone who only considers their own qualities and adventures worth mentioning is all about the applause, who degrades every round of talks to the audience and thus shows that he is indifferent to everyone else. This is how you spurn listeners and even friends in the long run, because sooner or later you will also become indifferent to others. To be able to gain something from anyone, even the most inconspicuous, is a great art - those who master it benefit not least of all because they are largely spared boredom. However, we will only reap the fruits of this art if we are convinced that there is nothing uninteresting. The more interest we arouse, the more we immerse ourselves in an object, the more interesting it appears, and where we have not yet learned to develop interest, we have to pretend interest for the time being. That means: It is not only allowed to let one's curiosity run free, it is downright the fuel of a lively conversation - as long as no one has to suspect that we are asking out of a frivolous or underhanded interest.

3. Asking questions and being asked

I prefer those interlocutors who speak with the aim of being understood, not with the intention of impressing. Anyone who reacts unwillingly to questions from his audience, as if it were an insult to him that he was not understood straight away, only proves that he is less concerned with understanding and much more with being overwhelmed by his audience. Don't let the vanity of such people intimidate you - after all, questions prove that you take the speaker seriously and follow him closely. Just don't pretend you already know and understand everything! By the way - in most cases questions are found to be quite flattering, especially if they give the speaker an innocuous reason to open the door to the treasury of his knowledge a crack Questions remain in conversation. If you ask, you give people the opportunity to talk about themselves, and there is little that makes people happy more. You just try and ask someone you know fleetingly or not at all about a detail of his life (“Where did you study?” “Can I hear the Lausitz accent from you?”) - in all probability he will answer in more detail than expected. A clever question can trigger half a life story.

4. Influence the conversation

You don't have to have something to say about everything, you don't have to comment on everything and incessantly prove that you can really have a say on every topic. Only insecure people cannot overcome admitting a knowledge gap - such competence hubs and all-round experts very quickly lose their credibility. So let's not put ourselves under the pressure of having to appear omniscient, every little mistake on our part will otherwise appear to the others as a capital embarrassment. But on the other hand, let's not be dragged through the conversation like a lame horse, let's not let everything pull us out of our noses like worms! Anyone who gives the impression of having nothing to say, who becomes the more monosyllabic, the more lively the others become, even the most indulgent at some point loses interest, whose company is soon no longer valued and at best is invited to and When out of politeness, they are just as little gain in the conversation who can only talk about their job or their specialty, or only contribute something to the conversation if they can help out with their knowledge and expertise, and possibly the whole evening lurk for a cue to shine as an expert once only. If you do not trust yourself to have the necessary presence of mind in a sociable conversation, I advise you to think about it beforehand, to work out a few topics about which everyone could have something to say, and to organize your arguments in advance if you have a dispute want to cut. It is not dishonorable to go into a conversation prepared, and no one needs to feel like a cheater or juggler who helps his spontaneity with rhetorical moves that he has carefully considered beforehand - as long as it does not appear as if it would he reel off a rehearsed program! The main thing is that we don't limit ourselves to reacting and commenting for a whole evening, but also take the initiative from time to time, sometimes determine the topic, and also contribute to livening up the conversation ourselves.

5. Don't take the wind out of the other's sails

Basically, every conversation is good if there are participants who do not agree with all the opinions that are served up. Contradiction sets a conversation going, approval puts it to sleep. A prerequisite for a fruitful conversation, however, is an agreement to the basic rules of fairness, which includes not cutting off the other person's word - an imperative that men in particular must be reminded of again and again. One of the most common male bad habits is not to let one's wife or girlfriend finish speaking or, if possible, to answer in their place and silence them one way or another. How often do you see one of your girlfriends tearing a story out of her mouth after the first three sentences, because he is afraid it might spoil the punch line! It is better to tolerate a story actually being thrown into the sand, a punch line actually being given away, than to shame one's wife or girlfriend in such a way. And no man should be able to expect that a woman will accept such disrespect for the sake of peace with a downcast look. In general, there are people who are used to being suppressed in conversation, so to speak. They begin to comment, are interrupted and fall silent. We should, quite inconspicuously, without any moral effort, make ourselves lawyers for such persons, i.e. speak to them, ask for their opinion and occasionally direct the conversation to areas in which they are familiar - if no one else does. I earned me a lot of grateful sympathy by doing nothing more than observing this simple commandment of fairness. I find far more harmless, but also annoying, not to let someone else's story work in the first place, but rather a comparable, only more spectacular one to postpone. There is always someone who has experienced something similar and believes they have to saddle up, and you are lucky if a second and third does not join you. It seems like a powerful impulse to want to outbid others in a conversation - we should still rein it as long as the result is stories of the same knitting pattern.

6. Speech is silver, silence is gold and tolerance is platinum

In addition, tolerance is an essential element of any culture of conversation. If we don't talk ourselves in a rage, if we don't bite into a topic, we don't believe we have to refute the other outright. You don't always have to stop immediately and correct things when you think you know something better. Sometimes one should take a - in our opinion - foolish opinion calmly, in order not to get the reputation of a know-it-all or complainer, or in order not to interrupt the flow of a narrative, the impulse of a narrator because of an insignificant factual error. Nor do we need to intervene with every silliness, with every bad taste; we should be able to withstand even people who are deeply convinced of their erroneous opinion. Who knows how often we ourselves have benefited from this kind of reticence? However, we cannot always be asked to talk people out and let our long-suffering come to the full. In my opinion, monologists can be confidently interrupted, rambling contemporaries quietly legged, people who indulge in general theories can be brought back to the bottom of the facts through a personal question and people who do not dare to look beyond the horizon of their personal concern, to withdraw attention. But with people who find it more difficult to formulate their thoughts than we do, we should be patient. Let's not embarrass them into wrestling something for our sake just because we make them feel like we've promised us more from them! Let us let these people be who they are and see if they might have other qualities that are speechlessly expressed. Lure interlocutors from the reserve - at any time. But never be embarrassed!

Moritz Knigge says: “A conversation not only puts your presence of mind and fluency to the test, but also your charm, your courtesy and your fairness. Always speak to be understood, not to impress! A good entertainer leaves the others hungry, as Baltasar Gracián puts it, the feeling that he is a long way from being fed up. "