I just wrapped up listening to Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser. Here’s what I discovered.
Pro tip: I use the library app called Libby which you can link to your local library card and get access to tons of free audio books and resources.
Right away she helps the reader by defining the three conversation types:
- Level 1 – Transactional Conversations. Think of the small talk or minimal exchanges you have with a cashier at a store.
- Level 2 – Positional Conversations. These are you sharing your opinion, advice, or even venting to others; the more one-sided conversations.
- Level 3 – Collaborative Conversations. These would be any conversation where you’re talking through your thoughts and those of the other parties to come to a joint result. This could be anything from a brainstorming session with co-workers, a deep conversation with a family member, or resolving a conflict with a spouse.
Glaser defines Conversational Intelligence (CIQ) as understanding which conversational level you’re using at the moment, knowing which is appropriate for the situation, and being able to adapt. For example, during conflict instead of engaging in Level 2 conversations you want to use Level 3.
We’ve all been there. Our emotions may be getting the best of us. We’re just listening to respond – to defend our feelings or positions, rather than listening to actually understand the other person’s viewpoint. We’re so set on trying to prove our point instead of working together towards a solution.
Can you relate? The best thing to do when you feel yourself in a Level 2 convo is to take a break and come back when you can be in a more collaborative mindset.
As with any skill, the more you practice working on Level 3 conversations the better you’ll get. You’ll be able to recognize and adjust on the fly more quickly. You’ll be able to help bridge divides between you and the other participants.
“The quality of your relationships depends on the quality of your conversations.”
I really enjoyed this book because she breaks down common conversational concepts in easy to understand ways and with plenty of examples. Concepts like:
- Building trust
- Seeking to understand mindset
- Being receptive to feedback
- Perception vs intent
This is definitely one that I recommend, and even one that would be valuable to re-read again. It would be a good way to reassess your skills in the future and see how much you’ve improved. In the same way you want to practice your communication skills, you want to practice self-development by finding additional resources and tools to continue to strengthen this area.
Check out these additional resources: