Last updated on November 4th, 2023 at 10:41 pm
You have failed as a gentleman even if you walk, act, and look, but do not speak like one. It’s your duty to learn how to speak like a perfect gentleman.
It’s possible you can fake being one, having all the qualities identifiable in a gentleman, but what’s going to blow your cover is the inability to speak like one in a conversation.
You might be wondering if a gentleman speaks in a specific way. Well, you will find out.
Speech as an art
Speech is the gift of nature that separates man from animals and which makes it possible to interact in society.
The perfect gentleman makes most of this gift to speak from the position of intelligence and balance.
He is not biased; he does not speak from a cluttered head or a position of confusion.
Read deep into this article to learn how to be courteous and polite in your conversations with people to gain respect and people’s admiration.
The importance of polite conversations by the polished gentleman
The art of expressing one’s thoughts succinctly is not something a gentleman should neglect.
He should in fact teach himself or take lessons on the subject, because,
“the commonest thought well put is more useful and conveys meaning than the brightest idea badly put.”
A speech well expressed is digested easily and the appropriate response given. But the best speech might be lost to the hearer if it is expressed in poor language.
Speaking as a perfect gentleman achieves the following for you:
- Puts you on the pedestal of respect
- You are looked upon as a leader
- You are admired by ladies and gentlemen
- You attract new friends and endorsements
Topics a gentleman should avoid in public
One of the rules in polite conversation for the perfect gentleman is to avoid conversations that tilt toward politics and religion in public.
Though these subjects are sometimes unavoidable, and you might find yourself in such discussions in a public place before you even know it.
It’s important to point out that such discussions often lead to unintended quarrels and irritating differences of opinion.
There are very few people that can discuss political and religious subjects with candor and balanced judgment without heating up the discussion with bad language and giving or taking offenses.
In a gathering of gentlemen, a tete-a-tete discussion, where everyone is politely ready to listen to others, politics and religion may be discussed respectfully.
But in the company of ladies or unfamiliar faces, you better rest these topics.
But if you find yourself in such discussions unintended as described above, make sure your individual opinion does not make you speak in a language that puts you in a bad light, unbecoming of a perfect gentleman.
You should tolerate opinions that do not agree with yours while not showing your temper.
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An angry man strips himself of the honour befitting a polished gentleman.
Also, when you know the other party is utterly wrong, concede honourably and refuse further conversation or politely change the topic.
The bottom line is that you don’t go ahead to obstinately defend your position and become angry and say things unbecoming of a gentleman.
It is not bad to be interested in politics or religion, but do not parade your opinion in public and force others to agree with you.
It’s okay to politely give your reasons and leave it at that. Your action and behaviour towards others are more convincing than talking people into it.
People might see you as a bad politician because you don’t agree with them, but let them admit you are a polished gentleman.
Use of wits
Being witty and lively in a conversation is very important. They are two important components in discussion in polite society.
But as a perfect gentleman, restrain yourself from forced wits. Forced wits are embarrassing and make your look ridiculous.
You don’t want to throw old jokes and wits at random that it becomes so tiresome and ridiculous that you laugh at your own jokes and wits.
It is excessively in bad taste to not know when to be witty. The witty gentleman chooses how and when not to because he knows the charm and power it wields when done right.
You might offend when you only innocently intended to amuse, and your wits and jokes might be taken personally by some people and spark an altercation.
The key is to use wits and jokes wisely and sparingly.
19 rules on how to speak like a perfect gentleman
In speeches, the polished gentleman is distinguished by the following characteristics in their interaction with people in society:
1. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
Though this is not peculiar to gentlemen, it’s a polite way to ask for something or after being done a favour, no matter how small.
The perfect gentleman is not proud to use these words to convey humility, appreciation, and respect, nor does he think it’s below his dignity.
These are words that show you are polite and approachable. It’s not difficult to cultivate saying these words in the appropriate situations as they trigger goodwill and respect.
The gentleman understands the power of these common words and uses them strategically to his advantage.
2. Don’t speak vulgar words
The perfect gentleman does not use vulgar or offensive words to communicate, even when offended. He does not curse, or lash out in anger.
He knows the implication of using words that are controversial or that send unintended negative messages.
He makes sure his words do not cause confusion or ignite conflict if it’s not intended.
3. The gentleman figures his thoughts out before speaking
It is often said that the mouth expresses the fullness of the heart. This means you speak what you think, and if your thought is bad, you speak badly.
But for the gentleman, the mouth does not express everything he thinks. In fact, he speaks considering the effect his speech will have on his listeners.
The perfect gentleman is a very organized person. He does not speak because others are speaking. When he does not have anything to say, he simply keeps silent.
This is because he wants to make the most quality impact. He makes sure every word that proceeds from his lips is pure and useful.
4. Don’t gossip or speak ill of people
The perfect gentleman does not talk down or slander people. Though he might have a negative opinion of people, he does not go about talking ill behind.
He prefers to settle issues with people and not speak of them in a way that suggests gossip or slander.
5. Don’t speak as if your word is a law
There are many people who in the course of conversation give their opinion as law and infallible that they don’t accommodate others’ perspectives.
They chastise people in authority and speak of what they would have done if in the same position while not being able to rule their ego and maintain politeness in simple conversation.
6. Pay attention and listen
Though listening is not speaking per se, it’s an important component of conversation.
Speaking like a gentleman will not be complete without paying attention and listening to others.
Paying attention to others shows respect and gives you more time to tailor your intelligent response.
While paying attention, ensure you are not distracted by either phone or anything else around the environment, and when you have to be, excuse yourself politely.
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It’s by listening that a gentleman knows what to say. Unlike the everyday man, who is concerned with getting his opinion across, the gentleman is concerned with getting people’s perspectives and bonding his own opinion from there.
It is in the character of a good listener that you can find the man who is fit for a good society.
If you are tired of listening excuse yourself.
It is embarrassing to a speaker for a listener to show signs of boredom and lack of attention.
It is utterly rude to look at your watch, flirt with an object, or other body language that indicates boredom when another is speaking.
Even if the speaker is boring, you don’t need to flaunt it on their face. You call always be patient or excuse yourself in the most polite way.
7. Be brief in your conversation
When in a conversation with people, make your points brief and modest. Do not be bound by time that you go ahead and say things that are not meaningful and make yourself boring.
Avoid boring stories that prolong speeches. You don’t want to give your listeners a ticket to give signals of boredom.
On the other hand, if another tells a boring story or speech, especially an old man, listen respectfully to the end.
And make your comment when it is most appropriate to do so without interrupting the flow.
8. Do not interrupt another who is speaking
It is also rude to interrupt another who is speaking by way of helping out to supply a word that the speaker hesitates to remember when you are not asked.
It is also in excessively bad taste to take a word that a speaker is expressing and express it in your own language or choice of words.
It sends a negative message to the speaker that you do not consider him capable of finishing his own anecdote that he started. It is tempting to do this, but avoid it at all costs.
9. Know your limit on any topic being discussed
The perfect gentleman knows his limits in any subject he is discussing. He does not exceed his knowledge to impress when he knows he is not going to give the right information.
He does not delve into a subject he does not have substantial knowledge about.
And when he is knowledgeable enough in a subject, he does not take the listeners to a lecture session so that it reminds the listeners how ignorant they are.
10. Do not tell a speaker his face he’s lying
It does not matter how unbelievable they sound. Don’t show any sign that you are in disbelief.
Hear them with polite attention. In your heart though, you know what you believe.
It is an insult to tell someone to their face, they are lying. And don’t think there is a better place to even tell they are lying, apart from your heart, unless it is something that can hurt people.
11. Be mindful of using gesticulations
Gesticulating is used in conversations, but they are not to be used more than you speak as it puts you in the position of a comedian, a poor one at that.
A polished gentleman is expected to always comport himself in conversations, not to unconsciously throw arms in the air while making a point.
12. Don’t pull people out of conversations
It is rude and utter disrespect to the group whom they converse with if you pull a listener out of a conversation for whatever reason.
It is more honourable to take permission from the group from which you want the attention of someone.
In the same vein, don’t listen to the conversation of people who have withdrawn from a group.
Leave their side with perfect disguise if they are close enough for you to hear their discussion.
13. Do not compare your friends in your discussions
While you speak in a group or a part of a group, don’t compare one of your friends with another.
It’s considered better to talk about the strengths of each of them than to make comparisons.
Heightening the strengths of another and contrasting it with the weakness of another is not in good taste.
14. Don’t slander the absent in any discussion
In all conversations, avoid saying anything that is capable of harming the reputation of the person who is absent.
This is calumny and is not the behaviour of a perfect gentleman. When you tell the bad deeds of another to another, the listener will lack respect for you.
He believes you will also tell another of his own bad deeds.
15. Don’t be quick to correct others when they make grammatical errors
To correct grammatical errors of people, or any other error for that matter is very wrong and should not be associated with a polished gentleman.
Don’t also show expressions either in words or body language that they are making errors.
It is better to go in private and point the errors out in a most friendly way.
16. Avoid vulgar language and jargon
Vulgar language, including slang though common in society, should be used sparingly.
It’s unbecoming of a gentleman to use these words every chance he gets. He is expected to use proper language and words in his daily conversation in society.
If he must use slang or such words, it should be with his inner circle of friends to whom he can relate deeply.
This also includes the use of jargon. Jargons are words that are strictly reserved for professions.
For instance, scientific words and technical terms might not be known by the listener.
Many would never understand some of the words no matter how you explain them.
17. A gentleman is not boastful in his speech, refrain from speaking too much of yourself
Speak but little of yourself as your virtues would show in your deeds. You don’t need to talk to people about you.
In talking much of yourself, you reveal so many flaws unintentionally.
Avoid boasting – how much you are worth, your connections, and the luxuries you enjoy.
It is also a bad attitude for a gentleman to boast about his close relationship with wealthy or powerful people if it does not come into the discussion naturally.
It reeks of pomposity and negative behaviour that does not befit a gentleman.
Also, it is not good behaviour for a gentleman to always speak of exotic places he has been.
It triggers boredom to always tell your listeners – “when I was in Paris, I did so so so…”
18. Do not talk of ropes to a man whose father was hanged
Yes! You read that right. A perfect gentleman’s conversations should always be driven by clarity of thought.
You should be conscious enough in your conversations to avoid some words and descriptions that might hurt others.
There are words and descriptions that are reserved only for family and friendship banters.
In the same manner, do not discover or see the skeleton in another person’s closet unless it is exposed for your examination which you should also treat with confidentiality as it is sacred.
19. Avoid flattery
A compliment is a good gesture when someone needs to be genuinely complimented, but flattery is a no-no.
A compliment is genuine praise while flattery is insincere and used to cajole.
It is easy to see through flattery. It is not necessary and it puts you in a position of a sycophant or praise singer.
Flattery erodes trust and the person would think you have ulterior motives.
Use voice tone to make emphasis
Voice tones are important in driving home a point. This is a skill that can be mastered by the gentleman when making his point.
For instance, he can go on a high tone when describing his experience with a bus driver and use a low, dragging tone to culminate the conversation into an emotional halt to register the intended point.
With these rules, one will think learning how to speak like a perfect gentleman is a full-time job.
But with conscious living and practice, they become embedded in your character.
These are not hard rules and you won’t be punished for not observing them. But a man who is keen on gliding effortlessly in conversations should master them with devotion.
Thank you for reading.
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Pious Clements is the insightful voice behind "The Conducts of Life" blog, where he writes about life ethics, self-development, life mastery, and the dynamics of people and society.
With a profound understanding of human behaviuor and societal dynamics, Pious offers thought-provoking perspectives on ethical living and personal growth.
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