Short books about making conversation
January 25, 2017 10:30 AM   Subscribe

When I was younger, I read a couple of books about making conversation. I learned about common conversational patterns like, "Say something related to what the other person said, then ask a question." They were helpful. Now my nephew is going through the same stage in life - the other day, he said, "People expect you to think of things to say so fast" - and I can't remember what those books were. Does the hive mind have any recommendations? Short and basic is best. Conversational topics, techniques and transitions are all good.
posted by clawsoon to Human Relations (7 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People discusses this.
posted by Clotilde at 10:39 AM on January 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

How to Work a Room.

As I was locating these two books on Amazon (see above), I noticed they also carry other "related" books. Search Google and Amazon and Goodreads, etc. etc. and you'll find many.

And remind your nephew that it's also OK to just quietly listen for a while if that's what he's feeling.
posted by JimN2TAW at 11:51 AM on January 25, 2017

I think it really depends on whether your nephew is 5, 10, or 15.
posted by bq at 12:54 PM on January 25, 2017

Response by poster: I think it really depends on whether your nephew is 5, 10, or 15.

Good point. Late teens. First year of university.
posted by clawsoon at 1:00 PM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
posted by John Cohen at 6:27 PM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

There's only one thing to know: Listen and be interested.
It's a lot easier if you ARE interested -- in the world, in places, in problems, in people.
People who know me well know I'm a hermit by choice. I HATE mingling. But those who know me a little -- e.g. at work, or at a party, or a meeting -- think of me as friendly, outgoing, interested, and interesting.
Yes, it's a strange thing. But it's not fake. I really am interested in the human condition, and I've found that most people have something of interest to say.
Just ask a question or two, instead of worrying about 'making conversation.' And don't try to 'work the room.' Just focus on the person you're talking to. And then the next one.
posted by LonnieK at 6:36 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

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