Conversational Intelligence: A book review by Bob Morris

Conversational Intelligence
Judith E. Glaser
Bibliomotion/Taylor & Wilson Group (2014)

What we understand is far greater than what either of us understands. Proceed accordingly.

Most experts on communication would probably not rank conversational intelligence as having importance equal to that of intellectual or emotional intelligence but that would be a fool’s discussion because all three are absolutely essential to having strong relationships within and beyond a workplace culture.

Susan Glaser: “To get to the next level of greatness depends on the quality of our culture, which depends on the quality of our relationships, which depends on the quality of our conversations. Everything happens through conversations!” I agree with the last point if “for better or worse” is added. Also, keep in mind that during a face-to-face interaction, about 80% of its impact is usually determined by body language and tone of voice; only 20% (or less) is determined by what is actually said. Finally, respect and trust are earned by behavior over time but can be squandered in only a moment.

Glaser focuses on how to master the core principles of conversational intelligence. (She calls them “Star Skills.”) They are building rapport, listening without judgment (I prefer pre-judgment), asking discovery questions, reinforcing success, and dramatizing the message. “These skills are simple, powerful, and get at the heart of building trusting relationships. They draw on a part of the brain known as the recticular activating system (RAS), associated with many vitally important functions. The most critical component of selling [or persuasion] is conscious and focused attention.”

This book was first published in 2014 but, if anything, is even more relevant and potentially more useful now than it was then. Of course, its ultimate value will be determined almost entirely by how effectively appropriate portions of the material are applied to the given situation.

Keep Aristotle’s four levels of discourse clearly in mind: Exposition explains with information, Description makes vivid with compelling details (i.e. figurative language), Narration traces a story (using a plot) or explains a sequence, and Argumentation convinces with logic and/or evidence.

Judith Glaser explains HOW to do WHAT but only you can provide the WHY.

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  1. Pearline on April 21, 2020 at 12:39 am

    First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which
    I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself
    and clear your head prior to writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts
    in getting my ideas out there. I do take pleasure in writing however it
    just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?

    • bobmorris on May 17, 2020 at 4:27 am

      What works fpr me is to formulate a question to answer or a problem to solve with regard to the given task. Then I reflect on possibilities and evaluate each. I tend to “over-think” and end up wandering in a fog. Sometimes I just begin writing a series of single sentence and see where they lead me.

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