Conversation is interactive, more-or-less spontaneous, communication between two or more conversants. Interactivity occurs because contributions to a conversation are response reactions to what has previously been said. Spontaneity occurs because a conversation must proceed, to some extent, and in some way, unpredictably. (Contrast with a scripted conversation, which falls outside this definition.) (However, the scope of that spontaneity may legitimately be somewhat pre-limited for the purpose of expediency, e.g. a talk show or a debate.)
Conversations are sometimes the ideal form of communication, depending on the conversants' intended ends. Conversations may be ideal when, for example, each party desires a relatively equal exchange of information, or when one party desires to question the other. (On the other hand, if permanency, or the ability to review such information is important, written communication may be ideal. Or if time-efficiency is most important, a speech may be preferable.) For a successful conversation, the partners must achieve a workable balance of contributions. A successful conversation includes mutually interesting connections between the speakers or things that the speakers know. For this to happen, those engaging in conversation must find a topic on which they both can relate in some sense.
Conversation is indispensable for the successful accomplishment of almost all activities between people, especially the coordination of work, the formation of friendship and for learning.
Conversation analysis is a branch of sociology which studies the structure and organization of human interaction, with a more specific focus on conversational interaction.
There are certain situations, typically encountered while traveling, which result in strangers sharing what ordinarily be a intimate social space such as sitting together on a bus or airplane. In such situations strangers are likely to share intimate personal information they would not ordinarily share with strangers. A special case emerges when one of the travelers is a mental health professional and the other party shares details of their personal life in the apparent hope of receiving help or advice.