Gabor (16) emphasizes that conversations are a daily part of the human interaction that involves two or more people exchanging pleasantries, ideas, humor n ideas. The article to be reviewed is How to have a conversation by John McDermott. The approach to analyzing this article will focus on the content of the article and how it has been used to persuade the reader. The article focuses on what the art of conversation is perceived to be. It is acknowledged in the article that conversation is between people is slowly becoming rare but important. Most people that are mentioned in the article cannot have a meaningful conversation with their partners, colleagues, friends and children because of distractions such as technology. Text messages, social media and use of different devices such as mobile phones and computers are the leading factors for poor conversation in the world today.
To persuade the reader, the writer of the article uses different theories and quotes from people that he believed to have mastered the art of conversation. The author acknowledges the fact that having a conversation with someone be it a lover or a friend was not as important to some people when he says Most of us have hopefully felt the unmoored elation of staying up all night talking with a friend or a lover (McDermott). By beginning the article by acknowledging the fact that conversation may not intrigue everyone, the author has connected with the people that do not value conversations and therefore opens a venue to explain why learning how to have a conversation is important. He continues by describing what he believes is necessary to be considered a good conversationalist by mentioning a favorite poet called Samuel Coleridge who was eloquent, witty, with a seemingly bottomless reservoir of cultural knowledge. In this part of the article, the author describes some of the characteristics that would help in having a conversation with another person.
The author uses simple language and humor in the article that makes it easier for the reader to understand. This is evident when he mention one person who was superb in the art of having a conversation. He concludes the second paragraph by acknowledging another person who was so good in having conversations that left the listener clinging to the leg of a table. The author of the article focuses on past records that have explained what is needed to be a good conversationalist. According to the article the first scholar to come up with the rules of having a conversation was Cicero. McDermott says Speak clearly; speak quickly but not too much, especially when others want their turn; do not interrupt; be courteous; deal seriously with serious matters and gracefully with lighter ones; never criticize people behind their backs; stick to subjects of general interest; do not talk about yourself; and, above all, never lose your temper. That was the second time in the article that the author gives the qualities that are required to be a good conversationalist to convince the reader.
However, the author introduces the reader to what challenges most people face when having a conversation these days by mentioning that Cicero, who came up with the rules, never had a chance of trying to have a conversation with a person who had an IPhone in their hands. Of course, he uses that statement to convince the reader that technology has had a major effect on how people interact and talk to one another. The author of the article uses his enrollment to a class that focused on how to have a conversation with other people as a way to persuade the reader. The issue is a poor conversation, and how to have a better conversation. Therefore, when the author uses a class set up in his article, there are several things that he mentions from the lecturer point of view that can convince the reader that the author knows what he is talking about.
The class that he attended had different people give different reasons why they are attending the class. Most of the people wanted a human touch and to improve their relationships with their colleagues, lovers, and grandchildren. The author mentions a freelance television producer in her early forties who was finding it difficult to have meaningful relationships and the reason for the difficulty was blamed on technology become she sometimes felt like her Blackberry was like a third person. Most readers can be persuaded by such an example because most can relate to the television producer experience with her mobile phone. Most people are so attached to their cell phones because of social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram that they would be in a room full of people but still not talk to a single person for some time.
The author had a different idea about a good conversation and to him; a real conversation was about erudite entertainment. Through the examples given in the classroom however that author learns that conversations must not be used as a means to an end. Again in the classroom six ways to have a better conversation were listed. All through the article the author has used different sources to give the reader ways of having a good conversation the third example came from the lecturer during the Tuesday night class. The six included being curious about others, Taking off your mask, empathizing with others, getting behind the job title, using adventurous openings and having courage. The author started by mentioning what he thought was a good conversation. Then later in the article through the people he met in the Tuesday night class referred to the effect of poor conversation including, meandered marriage relationships and increased rows in relationships.
Later the author gave several characteristics that were necessary to be considered a good conversationalist. To persuade the reader, the author has used different examples from what he knows to quoting what he learned in the Tuesday night class. The author himself looked at conversations from a different angle that by the end of the Tuesday evening class he had changed his mind on what entails good conversation. Initially, he had looked at conversation as something that can lead to entertainment but later learned that a conversation must not be anything; it must not have a purpose and should be about listening and learning as the author classmates wanted to understand. This article achieves its goal of persuading the reader because it uses several reliable sources such as past scholars views on good conversations, the presentation by the lecturer in the Tuesday night class and real life people experiences on how technology has affected how people relate and communicate with the people around them. The article serves an important part of educating people on the importance of conversations, characteristics needed to have a conversation and warning the reader about the effects of technology as far as conversation is concerned.
Gabor, Don. How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Print.
McDermott, John. "How To Have A Conversation - FT.Com." Financial Times. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 June 2016.
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