The art of conversation is easy. The knack lies in restraint. When in conversation with anyone minimalize speaking. Successful conversation is all about listening. About being a sounding board for your interlocutor’s emotional landscape. No one really wants to hear what you’ve got to say. Any words you utter should be applied strategically to prompt and praise. And if you have a shared experience – you’ve visited the same holiday location, endured the same digestive bug, bought the same car – down play your efforts/achievements/experience in comparison to theirs. Follow these rules and become Michael Parkinson. Remember: everyone loves a toady.