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Wit and wisdom

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Opening the conversation > Wit and wisdom

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Open the conversation with some witty or cogent remark that is designed to amaze, annoy or otherwise trigger an interesting discussion.

You can use ironic, cynical, dry, ascerbic or any other style. The success of any method is in the effect that it has.

You can add 'Don't you think' or some other provocation to respond after such a remark.

Example

I wonder how people have time to come to these things. Anyone here must be a complete layabout, wouldn't you say?

My dog wanted to come tonight, but he didn't have a suitable tie.

If I were you, I would be careful about being seen with someone like me.

Discussion

Displaying wit signals that you are interested in something outside of normal mundane conversation.

Wit must be played very carefully, as it can easily annoy some people. But if you do not mind winding up a few people, then even this can lead to interesting conversation.

Oscar Wilde was a famous wit who would open a conversation with an often controversial, but very quotable comment, such as:

It is very sad to see that nowadays there is so little useless information around.

America was discovered before Columbus, but it was hushed up.

Women can discover everything, except the obvious.

The only thing worse in the world than being talked about is not being talked about.

The husbands of very beautiful women often belong to the criminal classes.

A man can be happy with any woman, so long as he does not love her.

You can either use quotes like these directly, or use the quotation, for example saying 'Oscar Wilde said...what do you think'.

See also

Shock and awe, Using humor

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