This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Use clear, distinct words to express your ideas, although the tone of your voice should be subdued.
Be cool, collected and self-possessed, using respectful, chaste and appropriate language.
Always defend the absent person who is being spoken of, as far as truth and justice will permit.
Allow people that you are with to do their full share of the talking if they evince a willingness to converse.
Beware of talking much about yourself. Your merits will be discovered in due time without the necessity of sounding your own praises.
Recollect that the object of conversation is to entertain and amuse; the social gathering, therefore, should not be made the arena of dispute. Even slight mistakes and inaccuracies it is well to overlook, rather than to allow inharmony to present itself.
Aim to adapt your conversation to the comprehension of those with whom you are conversing. Be careful that you do not undervalue them. It is possible that they are as intelligent as yourself, and their conversation can, perhaps, take as wide a range as your own.
Remember that the person to whom yon are speaking is not to blame for the opinion he entertains. Opinions are not made by us, but they are made for us by circumstances. With the same organization, training and circumstances around us, we would have the same opinions ourselves.
Remember that people are fond of talking of their own affairs. The mother likes to talk of her children, the mechanic of his workmanship, the laborer of what he can accomplish. Give every one an opportunity, and you will gain much valuable information besides being thought courteous and well-bred.
Be patient. The foreigner cannot, perhaps, recall the word he desires; the speaker may be slow of speech; you may have heard the story a dozen times; but even then you must evince interest and listen patiently through. By so doing you gain the esteem of the person with whom you are conversing.
Do not manifest impatience.
Do not engage in argument.
Do not interrupt another when speaking.
Do not find fault, although you may gently criticise.
Do not talk of your private, personal and family matters.
Do not appear to notice inaccuries of speech in others.