A Good Read to Augment your Conversational Intelligence.

» Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in blog

It occurred to me, while writing a recent book review for the PeopleTalk magazine, that so much of our lives are influenced by the contents and the dynamics of the conversations we have.  My book review was primarily focused on Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results by Judith E. Glaser.

This book explains that we all have biases in our minds that shape our perceptions which in turn affect how we react, respond and interact with others.  When we are aware of those biases, we are more likely to be able to converse in the spirit of transparency, to be fully present and to uncover some of the unstated assumptions that sometimes block the truth from coming to light.

The centerpiece of Glaser’s book – the Conversational Intelligence Matrix – is a model that serves to understand the patterns, dynamics and intentions behind our most important conversations.  It describes the 3 levels of interaction she calls transactional, positional and transformational.

The first level – transactional mode – is when we exchange information and tend to ask-tell.  While this mode can be appropriate in business and daily life, its limitation is primarily that it does not foster stimulating exchange of ideas or the chance to positively influencing each other.  In the second level of conversation, people tend to advocate or inquire with the intent to persuade the other.  It can lead to a positioning of powers in which trust is tentative and conditional therefore limiting the possibilities of opening into an insightful, mutually satisfying interchange. The third and deeper level of conversation is called transformational.

In the coaching field, professionals are trained to instigate transformational conversations, the effects of which are often enhanced energy, motivation, clarity, and fresh insights in their clients.  However, the skills, awareness and consciousness level necessary to achieve this, in a mutually beneficial conversation can be learned, through the journey of developing greater conversational intelligence.  If that is of interest to you, I recommend you read Judith Glasser’s book.  And if you are eager to discover  the thresholds of daring conversations leading to breakthroughs , I recommend you also read:  The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations into Breakthroughs by Maria Reynold.