Conversational Intelligence mt lunch & learn

What does this mean?

Conversational intelligence provides a framework and practices for the way individuals, teams and organizations listen, engage, architect and influence the moment and shape the future.

  • What we think
  • What we say
  • What we mean
  • What others hear
  • How we feel about it afterwards

How do we build trusting relationships?

Be present - Tell people where they stand - Provide context in every communication - Co-create conversations - Honesty

What are interaction dynamics?

  1. Giver: The person is fair, honors our territory, will reciprocate, will collaborate and will give us a chance to voice our thoughts.
  2. Taker: The person takes over the conversational space.
  3. Matcher: The person shares conversational space.

Can you think of a commonality between the people you trust in your life?

  • Trust: Pre-frontal areas of the brain where we asses credibility, intentions and predictability of a person's behavior in the future. -> Antidotes to the brain's fear state are TRUST, EMPATHY and SUPPORT.
  • Distrust: Lower brain where we asses another person's threat level (area of the brain with fear and loss)
  • Distrust and trust overlap in the brain when we're uncertain. When we engage with others and feel uncertain about how to interpret the interaction our orbitofrontal cortex activates.


  1. Transparency [quell fear]: Take the lead by talking about threats and fears that are standing in the way of trust. Be open and communicate with others. | Refocus by shaping the conversations to talk openly about threats and fears that are standing in the way.
  2. Relationship [heart coherence]: Take the lead by extending the olive branch with everyone. Connect and engage in building relationships. Heart energy shifts to appreciation. | Refocus by engaging the heart brain to shape conversation to extend trust and send messages of appreciation.
  3. Understanding [sharing and understanding needs and emotions]: Take the lead by being inclusive, talk openly about needs and aspirations. Reframe uncomfortable conversations as opportunities to get to know what's on the other person's pend. Refocus by inviting other to be included openly in conversations about their needs and emotions. Step in the other's shoes and see the world from their view.
  4. Shared Success [opening minds and creating strategies for mutual success]: Take the lead by having conversations that focus on mutual success. Lower your attachment to being right and create mutual benchmarks. Refocus by putting issues and conflicts on the table without fear of retribution.
  5. Testing Assumptions & Telling the Truth [truth, empathy and judgement]: Take the lead by testing assumptions and perceptions of reality. Close the gap between what you get and what you expect.

What are the two least-developed skills in the workplace?

Stop thinking of your job as managing resistance and instead accept resistance as a natural part of change. People need to challenge new ideas before they can accept them. For full ownership and accountability to take place, people need to be in the conversation about how to change rather than being asked to merely comply.

How do we become more conversationally intelligent?

  1. An assumption that others see what we see, what we feel and think what we think.
  2. The failure to realize that fear, trust and distrust change how we see and interpret reality, and therefore how we talk about it.
  3. An inability to stand in each other's shoes when we are fearful or upset.
  4. The assumption that we remember what others say, when we actually remember what we think about what others say.
  5. The assumption that meaning resides in the speaker, when it actually resides in the listener.

Conversational Dashboard

  1. Transational: "Tell and Ask" interactions, exchanging information and facts so everyone is on the same page. There is not a lot of trust and people are focusing on what they need from each other in order to validate their view of reality.
  2. Positional: "Advocate and Inquire" when you advocate for what you want (not just tell someone) and are inquiring about beliefs so you can influence others to your point of view. Trust is conditional in this stage.
  3. Transformational: "Share and Discover" when you share, the brain receives a cue that you are invaluable, open to influence and can explore the perspective of others.

Open-Ended Questions

  1. Are you OK with taking the second writing sample to add to our marketing materials?
  2. I'm fascinated by the second sample. It's got all of the qualities of great writing. How are you thinking about it? Can you join me in this decision? Is anything stopping you from getting on board with this?
  3. Which of the writing samples will achieve the best outcomes for our sales promotion and marketing? How would you describe success in this situation?

Self-Awareness Check

  • Am I withdrawing?
  • Am I excluding others?
  • Am I defensive and reactive?
  • How can I shift my mind-set from exclusion to inclusion and set a new context for open, trusting conversations that enable us to partner for success?

How can I develop my E-IQ?

  1. Label feelings rather than people or situations.
  2. Distinguish between thoughts and feelings.
  3. Take more responsibility for feelings and understand the role of emotions in your life.
  4. Use your feelings to help make decisions.
  5. Control irrational thoughts.
  6. Identify emotional triggers.
  7. Monitor emotional responses.
  8. Validate the feelings of other people.

Self-Awareness What will you do to understand yourself better? // Self-Management  What will you do to motivate yourself and your emotions better? // Social Awareness  What will you do to become aware of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns? // Relationship Management What will you to do nurture and influence others?

Activity time!

Activity 1: Write what comes to mind with these images.

Activity 2: Back to the Future

  1. Create a lifeline: On a horizontal piece of paper lay our your liefeline by segmenting the sheet into segments from left: first third of your life, second third of your life and last third.
  2. Identify situations, people or events that had a big impact on you: Reflect on your life in terms of these time segments and identify key events that had a big impact on you. Mark them on the paper with keywords to anchor them. You must have one event (situation, people involved, story you made up about the event, takeaways and lessons) in each timeframe. After you've identified them, share with a partner.
  3. Patterns and meaning making: Share your lifeline from past to present with your partner. Ask your partner if they saw any patterns or interacting effects you may have not seen.
  4. Back to the future: Each partner takes a turn looking into the future to see what's next. How is this life pattern going to impact your future? Is there a pattern you want to replicate? Is there one you want to change or do differently? What can you learn from this exercise to improve your personal or professional life in the future?
  5. Trust in the future: How can you show appreciation for your coaching partner's story? How can you acknowledge their commitment to the future? How can you acknowledge their trust in themselves?

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