I'm trying to find a good word to describe "things to do" while having a conversation with someone. For example, you would want to make eye contact, affirm your speaker, and not check emails on your smart phone. These simple examples, to me, appear like etiquette. However I feel that word etiquette is really only used for "good or acceptable" manners. If I were to add conversation techniques, tips, or tricks, then I feel that I'm outside the scope of etiquette, and really need a word that combines the two together.

  • 1
    "Conventions" describe social norms - whether polite or impolite. This may be what you're looking for.
    – njboot
    May 24, 2014 at 4:49

5 Answers 5


Try rules of conduct or protocol. Though do's and dont's is the best usage.

  • 3
    Excellent specific answer to the question.
    – Fattie
    May 24, 2014 at 8:42

Perhaps "Conversation Pointers". I think that could cover both etiquette and technique.


I think that what you are referring may be commonly described as 'good manners', but more specifically to body language and the so called behavioural techniques on which a lot of scientific literature exists. In the specific case they refer to the right attitude and behaviour to take during a conversation to avoid annoying your counterpart ( reading mail while speaking) and be most effective in what you have to say (making eye contact for instance).


Another possibly useful term (from the field of professional counseling) is attending behavior, which consists of all of those things you do to convey that you are listening and actively engaged with the conversation. Attending behavior covers much of the receiving side of the conversational exchange, including eye contact, giving verbal feedback that you are following the speaker's discourse, not interrupting, etc. There are also rules for turn-taking,sticking with or changing subjects, and probably other facets of conversational exchange.

What is ATTENDING BEHAVIOR? any behavior engaged in while attentively listening. For example, exhibiting an open, interested posture, maintaining eye contact, and using an interested expression. Proper attending behaviors, along with active listening skills, are considered cornerstones of a therapist http://psychologydictionary.org/attending-behavior/

Psychology Dictionary: What is ATTENDING BEHAVIOR? definition of ATTENDING BEHAVIOR (Psychology Dictionary)


Try the simple

the do's of good conversation.

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. May 24, 2014 at 5:50
  • 1
    I don't understand your objection. I am inviting the OP to reconsider one of the terms they used in the title, suitably reframed, because it appears to me to be the best solution to the problem they are trying to solve. In what sense does this "not provide an answer to the question"?
    – Erik Kowal
    May 24, 2014 at 6:58
  • @RyeɃreḁd - I forgot to add a tag to my response to you, which perhaps explains why you haven't yet explained your objection. However, I'd still be grateful for your clarification.
    – Erik Kowal
    May 25, 2014 at 0:30
  • Erik - I didn't downvote but how it was originally was more of a comment and it still kind of is. I don't know if the OP understands why you think this and I thought I would save you a few points from a downvote you already had. May 25, 2014 at 3:29

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