In a country where two thirds of the population are estimated to be extroverts, it may be hard for some people to understand how it can be so difficult for many people to socialise. Sadly for introverts, it is an extrovert’s world. Susan Cain, author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking’, argues that in the Western world, introverts are made to feel worthless and are told they are “anti-social”, when in reality, they just gain their energy from quiet time and reflection rather than big social events. However, many introverts cannot grasp the concept of ‘small talk’ and would rather sit in silence than endure meaningless discussion, but this can be uncomfortable.

For some people, striking up a conversation and maintaining it is easy, but even for some of the most outgoing of people, sometimes it can be a struggle. We live in a world where being able to form relationships with the right people can lead us in the right directions. Rightly or wrongly, many opportunities function on ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ terms; generally speaking, the more people you know, the better off you are. In some cases, being able to speak to anybody about anything gets you further in life than good grades do.

It is for that reason that learning how to keep up a meaningless conversation or even striking up a relevant one is so necessary.

Currently, most independent schools develop their students’ social skills through a range of means. ‘Subject dinner parties’ are a common method, as being forced to sit next to a nearly retired teacher and discuss coastal erosion for an hour should definitely improve one’s ability to converse. Seeing as private school pupils occupy the majority of Britain’s best jobs, could it be possible that the sociability learned in school plays some role?

So why can’t public schools help to alleviate some shyness? We believe that if schools included conversation lessons in their curriculum, there would be many fewer awkward, silent moments and students would have a heightened ability to make connections, dazzle interviewers and build up an unshakable self esteem.