NE of the essentials of a good public – speaker is tact. This also applies in ordinary conversation, though it is not always realized.
Many people seem to find difficulty in starting the conversation when with strangers or casual acquaintances. When at a loss, there is always an item in the days news that can be remarked on and used to break the ice. New novels and sports are also excellent topics. Never start by talking about yourself, your ailments and family history. People are far more interested in their own affairs than in those of other people. Avoid saying unpleasant things about people who are not present. You may make bad friends this way, and because you have a grievance against someone it does not follow that your hearer has too. If you cannot give him praise, at least give him justice and say nothing.
It is extremely rude to interrupt a person when he or she is talking. Even if you aie not interested, it is polite to appear so. A good listener is appreciated.
A hostess should never show favouritism. It is a fault for her to devote too much attention to one person. It is equally rude for a guest to attempt to monopolize the conversation. Whispering in company is a bad breach of etiquette.
There is bound to be disagreement, and it is a matter on which some people find it extremely difficult to restrain their fervour when contrary opinions are expressed.