Talk of yourself and your own affairs as little as possible, and bear in mind that to drag into a general conversation the names of distinguished persons to whom you may be related, or who may be numbered among your friends, is more apt to excite contempt than to yield admiration. To speak of your own exploits, or give examples of your special prowess and sagacity, without request of the company, is always in bad taste, and is more likely to gain you credit for self-conceit than for the qualities boasted of, Leave matters of this kind for people to find out and you will gain more credit.

Above all, avoid any effort to monopolize the conversation. It is presumptuous and offensive in any person to imagine that his or her words alone are of interest, and impolite to rob others of the opportunity to speak. This is a common fault in fluent talkers, who are, besides, often so interested in what they wish to say as to be plainly inattentive to what others are saying.

Personal allusions or flattering remarks are often in very bad taste. Words spoken in jest may be taken in earnest, and should be guarded against unless you are with intimate friends, who will not be likely to put a false construction on your words. If you intend a jest, you are wasting your effort if your point cannot be seen.

Puns and slang terms should, as a rule, be avoided. They at times fit in neatly, but a habit of indulging in them is a bad one. It must be remembered that there is a slang of the mansion as well as of the hovel, of the drawing-room as of the street. The technical terms of professions or trades have occasionally the effect of slang in general society, and simple, plain language should always be used in preference. It is not always advisable to bring the phrases of the office or the factory into social circles.

Express yourself simply and clearly. Avoid all attempts at elegance or pomposity. Use the easiest and plainest language you can, and stop speaking when you have said what you desired. " Brevity is the soul of wit," therefore "speak little, but speak well, if you would be thought a person of good sense."