Abstract: This paper builds on the previously advanced notion of the 'conversational construal', that is, the degree to which persons overlap with or differentiate from each other based on their conversational contributions. Specifically, the paper explores the notion of how mobilising different aspects of one's conversational construal over the course of talk with others can be regarded as a key 'conversational competence'. Moreover, this competence is argued to underpin cultural manifestations of ordinary, naturally occurring conversation, making the conversational construal a culturally sensitive phenomenon. To illustrate this idea, the paper draws on two lingua-cultures (England and Germany), which have been shown to display quite differing conversational orientations as participants in talk go about doing sociable interaction. The paper seeks not only to illustrate the links between these two ideas for the study on conversational interaction generally, but also to show how cultural variation in conversational style, and potential points of cross-cultural misunderstanding, might be better understood, made sense of, and appreciated.