Get a signed copy of the NEW Emily Post's Etiquette Centennial edition, and support Vermont's independent bookstores.
Being thoughtful applies across the board, from the conversation's topic to the listener's reactions. Ask yourself if it's likely that someone will be interested in the topic before you bring it up.
Instead of panicking over what to say next, focus on what's being said to you. Really listen. Here are some tips for sharpening your listening skills:
The only time it's okay to interrupt in the middle of a sentence is when you need to communicate something that honestly can't wait. Even then, precede what you say with "I'm sorry to interrupt" or a variation.
A comfortable conversation involves more than just words; it has to take place in a comfortable space. Generally, stand no closer than about eighteen inches apart. Also, be conscious of height differences. Stand far enough away so that the other person won't have to look up or down at your face.
Our body language adds another message layer to the words we speak. Some signals are open to interpretation, but others come through loud and clear.