Articles & Publications

By Judith E. Glaser |
Published: September 16, 2013


Knowing how to have an effective conversation is not just an inherent talent — it’s a skill backed by science that anyone can learn. In my new book CONVERSATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, I translate complex scientific material into adaptable practices for anyone to master and apply to getting a job and rising in a company.

Conversational Intelligence™ is what separates those who are successful from those who are not — in business, in relationships, and even in marriages. Conversations have the power to move us from “power over” others to “power with” others, giving us the exquisite ability to get on the same page with our fellow humans and experience the same reality by bridging the gaps between “how you see things and how I see things.” Conversational Intelligence is learnable, and it is necessary to build healthier, more resilient organizations in the face of change. By understanding how conversations trigger different parts of our brain, and how they either catalyze or “freeze” our brains in protective patterns, you can develop the conversational skills that propel you toward your goals and, once you are part of an organization, propel your whole team and company towards shared success. We all hear about the importance of expressing positivity. But what does that really entail? It’s all about creating trust and a sense of shared goals, and the feeling that you and those you are talking to mutually “get it.” Elevating your Conversational Intelligence can be a life-changing experience that not only yields business results, it also create new energy for ongoing transformation and growth.

What are five ways in which Conversational Intelligence can help you land a job or promotion?

1. Focus on how to be inclusive. Indicate that you are a person who is not afraid to turn to others for help, ideas and input on decisions. Indicating that you are inclusive shows that you have an awareness of how your decisions would affect others on your team, and the outcome of your team’s efforts. Example of an “exclusive” statement that you might think makes you look like a self-sufficient employee but that could backfire is, “I am comfortable handling things myself.” A better, more “inclusive” way to direct your conversation would be “I like to see how my co-workers feel about handling a difficult situation, and to find out what resources they feel they need to get the job done.”

2. Be expansive rather than limiting. Rather than discussing bottom-line thinking and cutting waste, talk about how you would create a sense of excitement and ambition around the issues important to the company you want to work for. Instead of talking about managing customers’ expectations, talk about “if our customer could have absolutely anything at all, what would it be?” Talk about how faced with a tough problem, you are a person who can coalesce a team around finding a fresh perspective and a new approach. Women are sometimes viewed as being more timid than men and choosing a “safe” route rather than a riskier one that could yield more exciting results. Make sure you express no fear of coming up with big ideas and encouraging others around you to feel comfortable share their wildest thoughts on how to tackle a goal.

3. Avoid “Groupthink”! Demonstrate that you are not a person who follows the crowd and takes their cues from the existing culture, but rather someone who is always looking to experiment, try and discover new ways of doing things with the input of your co-workers, and to encourage your team to do the same. Emphasize a positive attitude about taking risks and experiencing possible setbacks.

4. Show that you have a voice and are especially attuned to the voice of others. Ask about the perspective of the person you are interviewing with. Find out what kind of support they would like to have. Discuss ways to galvanize a group to make something happen.

5. Be a “celebrator,” not a “complier.” Savvy companies don’t just want someone who will get the job done and follow the rules, they want someone who truly celebrates success and the accomplishments of those around them — as well as their own. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn and be open about the excitement you feel about shared success. Share your vision for the short and long term!

Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc., and the Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. Glaser has served as an Adjunct Professor at Wharton and a visiting guest speaker at Harvard and various other institutions. Glaser has appeared on NBC’s Today, ABC World News, Fox News, CBS Morning News, The Martha Stewart Show and the Family Network. She is frequently quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Crain’s, Harvard Management Review, and AMA World, and is a contributing editor for Executive Excellence Magazine.


Keep up-to-date with The CreatingWE Institute and Conversational Intelligence® via our email newsletter