Knowing how to generate good conversation situations will help you create stronger and more effective connections with others.
The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.
Many conversations miss their point. We talk to each other, about each other and invent things that suit our motivations and needs. We can communicate 24/7 from anywhere in the world, at any time, but that is not enough. We need to have the wisdom to connect .
We need Conversational Intelligence , a concrete framework to know what types of conversations trigger low-level brain activity, such as primitive fighting or temporizing instincts, compared to those that generate high levels of brain activity, such as trust, integrity , strategic thinking and the ability to process complex situations.
The more we learn about how the brain really works, and how much of our brain is dedicated to social connection, the more we realize the power of connecting with others in healthy and productive ways for the success of both.
These tips can help build a higher IQ for conversation, depending on the situation:
1. When you meet someone new
- What to do: Say “What a pleasure to meet you” or “You seem familiar”
- Why it works: Our brains are designed to be social. The need for belonging is more powerful than the need for security. When we feel rejected, fear networks are activated and cortisol levels increase, which makes us adopt defensive behavior. A sense of inclusion reduces cortisol levels, and increases oxytocin levels, which promote emotional bonding.
- Focus on: Inclusion.
2. When you are brainstorming with a diverse group
- What to do: Appreciate the contributions of others and say 'thank you'
- Why it works: Appreciation reshapes our neural connections. When we appreciate others, we make a positive impact on our neurons. Appreciation also activates more neural connections in our brain, allowing us to have higher levels of vision, hearing, and perspective. Appreciation also activates our ability to see beyond and think big. Appreciating the contributions of others, even if you disagree with them, increases confidence.
- Focus on: Create stronger networks for group thinking.
3. When you want to persuade someone else
- What to do: Put yourself in the shoes of the listener
- Why it works: Empathy activates the network of “mirror neurons” or the executive brain. When we reflect with others, we become more capable of seeing and experiencing the world through the eyes of others. This activates higher levels of oxytocin production, which has a positive impact on collaboration and co-creation and increases the amount of trust and openness. We feel more comfortable sharing what we really have in mind.
- Focus on: Listen to connect, not reject.
4. When you need to solve a difficult problem
- What to do: Say, “tell me your thoughts.” And listen
- Why it works: Uncertainty activates both trust and mistrust. When we have uncertainty, it means that the networks of trust and mistrust are activated at the same time. We can more easily enter “group thinking” to be safe in the crowd, or we close ourselves out for fear that fear will make us look weak.
- Focus on: Making sure we are transparent about what we know; and not penalize those who express themselves. Motivate them to share.
Conversational Intelligence is the ability to master the power of connection to improve relationships with others. This is not about how smart we are, but how open we are to learning something new or having powerful conversation rituals that propel the brain to trust, unite, and succeed.