Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dilbert on Conversation

I'm a bit late to this, but Scott Adams' remarks on conversation are noteworthy. Link here.

They are especially noteworthy because, as Adams notes at the end of his post, three-quarters of his readers did not know that conversation has rules. And thus, that it is played like a game, not like theater.

What is a conversation? Adams tells us that it is an effort to entertain or to inform another person without taking up all the talking time.

Conversation is an exchange. It involves listening as intently to the other person's words as you would wish him to listen to yours. And it involves give and take, in roughly equal measure.

If it is not like drama, then it should be engaged with a duly temperate attitude.

If you are declaiming about this and that, holding the floor for an excessive period of time, ignoring whatever response your interlocutor may or may not be offering, then you are breaking the rules.

Adams suggests that his life improved immeasurably once he started conversing according to the rules. I consider it very good advice indeed.


Jordan Henderson said...
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Jordan Henderson said...

I'm in some middle ground, I think. I knew conversation had rules, but I constantly break them because I seem to believe that I'm so much more entertaining and informative than my conversational "partner", that I can break them and nobody will care.

Now, why is it that I find it so hard to make friends?