A Good Listener Should . . .
Think less about himself and more about the conversation.
Adopt a relaxed stillness.
Respond positively to initiatives other people make in a conversation.
Be ready to deduce the important messages that are left unsaid.
Make the right noises and avoid using too much of the six famous expressions.
Use appropriate facial expression.
The Ethics Of A Better Conversationalist
Be a good listener.
Watch your endearments.
Avoid offensively dogmatic expressions.
Use the right pronoun always.
If you hear people mispronounce or misuse a word, don't humiliate them by pointing out their mistakes.
Improve your vocabulary.
Don't worry if you can not find the right word.
Avoid slang and swearing particularly with people you do not know well.
Small Talk Openers
Talk about the weather.
Comment or ask about the surroundings or the event.
Comment or ask about the people who play an important part in the occasion.
Comment or ask about how you or the other person arrived.
Comment or ask about your feelings at the moment.
Comment or ask about current news stories, or recent films, books or TV programs.
The Different Faces Of A Conversation Killer
The Loquacious Guest.
The Taciturn Participant.
The Red-Light Speaker.
The Chairman of the Board of Censors.
The Bare-it-all Performer.
The Nitty-Gritty Presenter.
The First Person, Singular Number Talker.
The Court Jester.
The Great Mimicker.
The Repentant Penitent.
The Mother of Universal Counsel.
How Not To Get Lost In A Conversation
Don't let small talk become a "police tactical interrogation."
Don't disclose too much of yourself too soon. It can make some people uncomfortable.
Don't discuss controversial topics such as religion and politics.
Don't make direct personal comments about a person's clothing, grooming, skin color, age or accent.
Don't show your limitations. Always equip yourself with a well-stock mind.
Don't take small talk literally.