Monday, May 18, 2009

Conversation Arts

What is the art of conversation in a society?
In corporate society how can you say first impression is last impression?

This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
General Principles of Good Manners
Good manners stand next to a good heart in adapting men and women to the community in which they live. Indeed, so far as the opinion of ordinary society rules, they go further, for however gifted by nature or education one maybe, or however well-intentioned and virtuous in conduct, if he is ignorant of the customs and requirements of good society, is awkward or ungraceful in manner, careless in speech, and heedless of social demands, and even of the arbitrary dictates of fashion, he risks exposing himself to ridicule, and may be neglected or contemned, while men far below him in character and ability, but with superior knowledge of correct social deportment, may become the admired favorites of the world. In short, it may be said that success a life often depends far more on appearance and deportment than on innate character.
According to Swift, good maimers are the art of making those people with whom we converse feel at ease. This is doubtless true so far as conversation is concerned. Persons of generous impulses naturally seek to render themselves agreeable to those into whose company they come, and are no more eager to gain enjoyment for themselves than to bestow pleasure upon others. The art of pleasing is, in truth, a simple one, but frequently its cultivation is too much neglected. Many persons become so solicitous for the promotion of their own pleasure as to forget that their neighbors have claims upon them.
Yet every man who enters society should bear in mind that, in a sense, he ceases to be an individual, and becomes part of an association, a social organism, as it has been called; met together, not for any one's personal gratification, but for the pleasure of the whole company.
The first requisite in our intercourse with the world, and the chief in giving pleasure to our associates, is sincerity of heart, a quality which lends the same ornament to character which modesty does to manners. A second important element of social behavior is lack of self-assertion, a modesty of manner, native or acquired, which is in no sense inconsistent with firmness and dignity of character. The well-bred man feels at ease in all companies, is modest without appearing bashful, and self-possessed without an undue forwardness of manner.

Making That Lasting Impression
Although the first impression is important, the last impression can be equally or even more important. In a long discussion, what you say last can be remembered even more than what you said or did at the beginning.
It is always important to leave an interview expressing appreciation for the time and reaffirming your interest in the position.
At the end of an interview, I once confidently stated to the direct supervisor that “I’ve determined that this is the very role I want next in my career and if I don’t get it at this company, I will find it elsewhere. It is what I need to do with what I have to offer.”
As you get ready to leave the room or get off the phone, there are a few things you can do to compensate for a poor first impression.
• If you had a weak handshake or humbly looked at the floor during introductions, do the opposite during salutations.
• If you mispronounced someone’s name at first, be sure to say it right upon leaving showing you did pick up on the correct pronunciation.
• If you tripped over a ripple in the carpeting coming in, make light of it on the way out saying “I’m not going to let the carpeting eat my shoes this time.” Laughing at yourself shows you are human and have an easy-going personality.
Like first impressions, there are also expressions about last impressions. For example, “always leave them wanting more.” The message is you can convince your audience that you are the best after a slow start and there is more to you than meets the eye.
Still not convinced you can recover from a bad first impression? Check out this video of Susan Boyle in the show Britain’s Got Talent. I think you will discover that a first impression can change when we confidently stick to the game plan and “deliver the goods.”

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