As Dale Carnegie put it in his opus How to Win Friends and Influence People, the best way to keep a conversation going is to “talk in terms of the other person’s interests.” And the best way to do this is to ask a question beginning with one of Kipling’s six honest “servants.” They are: who, what, when, where, why and how.
The best way to get specific answers is to ask specific questions.
How you ask something may well determine the response; ask questions in a friendly tone of voice and you’re more apt to get an answer that will keep the conversation going.
Most of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice.
Too many people with the gift of gab don’t know how to wrap it up.
When someone gets angry it’s time to change the subject.
Even though some things shouldn’t need to be explained, being overly evasive can cause others to jump to wrong conclusions.
Idle chatter about sensitive issues can have unwanted results.
We should always sacrifice a clever remark for the sake of someone’s feelings.
When someone says, “I’ll think it over and let you know,” you already know.
The best way to deal with a complaint is to begin by assuming that it’s legitimate.
A good conversationalist asks the questions people want to answer.
It’s better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers.
Don’t make a statement when you can just as effectively ask a question.
It’s usually wise to say less than we think.
To learn the truth ask the right questions.
Very strong beliefs have to be very carefully expressed.
It’s good to sometimes pretend to learn things we already know.
There’s no need to talk about yourself; others will do that when you leave.
Conversation exercises the mind; gossip just exercises the tongue.
Nothing makes a long story shorter than the arrival of the person who’s being talked about.
When people lower their voices they want something; when they raise them they didn’t get it.
What’s important to people is whatever they think is important.
It’s fine to let your mind go blank as long as you turn off the sound.
Every experience you’ve ever had is a story waiting to be told; you just need the right audience.
You may be saying all the right things but the other person may simply not be ready to hear them; you can’t always get into other people’s minds.
Loud talk doesn’t necessarily mean someone is right.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; little minds usually just gossip.
Too many facts can spoil a good story.
Nobody pays much attention when it’s only pride talking.
When keeping your eyes and ears open it’s best to keep your mouth closed.
Silence isn’t a void that always needs to be filled.