For some, conversation is an art, for others, a nightmare. But with a little science, anyone can become a conversational master.
Social scientists use Conversational Intelligence® (C-IQ) to measure the quality and level of trust fostered during a conversation. An individual with high CI has transformational conversations that utilize discovery questions to engage their partner’s prefrontal cortex, the portion of the brain that controls trust. Someone with low CI activates the part that enables suspicion and anxiety.
One of the keys to developing a high C-IQ is to recognize your conversational blind spots. Breakdowns in conversations happen when people talk past each other. If you want to build trust, you must engage and learn to talk and listen with someone.
Some of the most common conversational blind spots are:
- The assumption that all people “see what we see, feel what we feel, and think what we think.”1
- Fear, trust, and skepticism greatly influence our reality.
- Fear prohibits us from standing in someone else’s shoes.
- The assumption that we remember what someone else said, when in reality we remember what we think about what they said.
- Meaning does not dwell in the speaker, but rather the listener.
Our experiences shape our reality; and blind spots occur because people’s experiences are different. There are ways to bridge the gap and minimize blind spots:
- Don’t monopolize the conversation. Allowing others room to contribute can offer new insights and stimulate new ideas.
- Ask open-ended discovery questions, for example: How did that decision impact you? What are your goals and how can I help you achieve them?
- Listen without judgment. Be empathetic and open to hearing other viewpoints.
What conversational blind spots have you experienced? Did you use a specific technique to master it? I’d welcome your insights.