Building up Conversation


Any conversation is a joint-participation venture in words by two or more sides .if there is more than one party and there is no contribution to the talk , it will not be called a conversation, but a monologue . A proper dialogue, on the other hand, should be well filled with questions, answers, views, expressions, statements, and information. To make a successful go at any conversation, the people involved will need to have the ability of building it up gradually . This would mean that not only should they have ample topics to discuss or talk about , but also that they have the expertise of changing from topic to topic without making it obvious or awkward.


The flow of topics is possible when the group members have enough in common, and are of the same mental level to enjoy conversing and exchange of ideas. In such close company, nobody is in search of words, so to say , and the conversation sessions can go on and on ad infinitum. Sometimes , the talkers themselves are expert conversationalist and can build up or develop the conversation themselves without any outside help. they may have the knack of switching from topic to another in the most natural and dexterous way after the tacit yet unspoken assumption that the previous topic has been exhaustively dealt with.

The talk may thus start with hijackings  now going on to crimes in general and their impact on society and youth in particular, which would certainly bring in discussion on education and its counterpart in the developed countries today, and may usher in the topic of brain-drain and the facilities as well as hazards of living in a foreign land for long or forever. topic after topic thus touched upon   and disposed of with all the skill that the group is capable of.

But a general ‘rule’ to be remembered is that though various topics are touched upon and dealt with in varying degrees of detail, this is not to be taken as an opportunity merely to tell stories, though one may illustrate a point by recounting a relevant or telling anecdote or experience.

Exchange of thought

When a topic is thus under examination, the best way in which it can be taken to culmination is to have the widest exchange of thought between persons. This is another reason why stories and narrations fall flat in an intelligent group discussing a subject. If somebody goes on to describe remote details of an accident or how a person lost his foothold from the bus and how he was miraculously sved from being run over, the whole narration may annoy others in the group because the topic of the conversation was not what happened, but why such accidents occurred in the first place , and what could be done to eliminate or prevent them.

The fact should not be lost sight of that during the exchange of thoughts , there should be co-operation among members of the group and that they should be able to take criticisms with forbearance and grace. Whether one’s argument are stuck down or agreed with is unimportant . If both reviews pass judgement impartially , without getting personally involved or offended on account of the discarding of views, exchange of thoughts can proceed freely to the greatest intellectual benefit of the group as a whole.

Change-cover from subject to subject

The conversation must proceed from topic to topic and subject to subject without any perceptible  change or rise and fall in tempo. For instance , if the topic of world war 3 yields place to mass killing and then to the problem of the under priviledged or the under developed countries , to planning, investment and to the  lighter aspects of life sports or dramatics and other liberal arts and then onward to the new-wave cinema , permissiveness, censorship and so on, the change-over should not cause a disruption. As one topic comes to its natural end, the other has to follow as a logical sequence, and thus the conversation must move with the slow resolution of a circulation stage, the dramatics personae being the conversationalist themselves.

Where the person in the group are not so well-experienced as to take or absorb the twists in the conversation with the same skill , the job of moderating the conversation will rest on those who are more experienced to guide the conversation along channels that will yield maximum fruitful results. Care has to be taken to ensure that the topic chosen are not far-fetched or too controversial for that will automatically leave or perhaps the majority of the group out of the conversation.

In fact , the moderator , if he possess the aptitude, will be able to control the talk before it spills out of the general level of the discussion to segregated analyzing by those in the group who alone are in the know of certain matters. This type of conversing has to be learnt by practice and those who feel their shortcomings in this game should let the more experienced lead and follow them and lend support to prevent the conversation from flaging or the petering out. Those less experienced , therefore with silent agreement and co-operation sould not try to break new ground, however tempted they may be to narrate their own experiences or to add information to the general pool. This is because any out-of the way effort by any one of the last-named person will suddenly introduce a subject which may have least relevance and which may break the continuity of the conversation .

Airing of views

Assuming that the change of topic is done under expert guidance, the expressing of views by those taking part in the conversation is of vital importance since the wrong way of making comments on the subject under discussion will be like a clap of a wet towel. So, if the changing of subject is an art, the way of expressing views in connection with all these subjects is a still greater art. A new topic may be initiated by a casual remark of one person and this may bring additional interest to the group whose members air their views on the topic has cropped up. At this auspicious moment, a chance remark by a person in the group who is not yet well versed in the art of conversation may prematurely ruin the natural development of the conversation.

It is advisable on such occasion for the person who is not so knowledgeable on the subject to learn first of all to hold his tongue, because the holding of the tongue at opportune moments is one of the primary lessons that have to be learnt in the matter of a group discourse. This rule of curbing oneself holds good for those veterans and other who may sometimes be swayed by their self-confidence arising out of superior knowledge or experience which they have had of similar situations. Thus, experts or even the moderator or moderators should be careful about the way they go on lest their own talkativeness inspired by the ignorance or inaptitude of the others present become a monopoly of the conversation which must be avoided at all costs.

Experts and beginners alike should, therefore, join hands in applying the brakes. If either the one or the other takes to unreasonable airing of his views disregarding the views of others, the conversation is sure to go up in smoke. In this connection, there are principles that must be followed, and no one should pass remarks or express opinions on anybody present or absent, or introduce any topic which may cause tension in the group. All views or remarks that give rise t any uneasy feeling in the group are to be side-tracked from the start. It would be wrong to start something and then, realizing that the said subject is not agreeable, drop it all of a sudden or change it in a manner that makes this obvious. Such subjects should be allowed to peter out gradually, but as quickly as possible.

Adding to a conversation

The building up of a conversation is not the act of any one person but of all. Everyone should contribute his or her share to the best of his ability to give the base, the body and amplitude to this conversation. The question that may be asked at this point is: how does a person add to the conversation on hand? Now, it is already clear that a conversation requires different pieces to be put together and final touches added to round it off. In the light of this, it will be useful to add something which has already been said even though the same thing is said in a better way, it will not have the same novelty as that of an original piece, and attention and interest may be expected to flag.

To save the conversation from the morass of repetition, the best way is to think of something new, something different which calls for further remarks and criticism. But one must play one’s hand properly. The outstanding or different remarks should not border on the ludicrous, but should be something that has come out of the depths of a perceptive mind. The easiest way to take part in such a conversational game is to think out the two sides of a subject under discussion. All sides have some advantage and some disadvantages, something in favor and something against and a clear conversationalist would be likely to make use of both. It may be argued that such a game would no longer be a game but a atough experience of the mind, but then what game is not an exercise in some way or other?




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