Judith E. Glaser is one of the most innovative “change agents” in the consulting industry. She is the world’s leading authority on WE-centric Leadership. Through her dynamic, interactive and provocative keynotes and leadership summits, she has introduced her powerful transformative technologies to CEOs and their teams. Here, she discusses her inspiration for her new book, Conversational Intelligence — released today!
What inspired you to write Conversational Intelligence?
My book was inspired by original research I did for my Graduate Fellowship Program at Drexel University that involved 25 children, ages 2 to 6 years old, in a 10-year-long longitudinal study.
The premise of the experiment was that conversations are not just words and the sharing of information, but are multi-dimensional experiences where we learn how to put words to what we experience inside of us (feelings, emotions, ideas) and what we experience outside of us (our reality as we experience it) – and to engage with others in sharing our realities. We taught children how to have conversations about what they were thinking, feeling, seeing, and experiencing.
The results of this experiment blew us away. Each child had an IQ jump of more than 10-15 points. They were also emotionally healthier than their peers, thought of as all-around great kids, and all went on to college.
I’ve spent the rest of my life studying ‘why’ – and it’s lead to me writing this book on Conversational Intelligence. Imagine what would happen if we helped all children ‘activate’ their Conversational Intelligence in schools. Imagine what would happen if all leaders were exposed to Conversational Intelligence. Difficult conversations would be a thing of the past; we would be having conversations not just to confirm what we know, or defend what we believe – our conversations would enable us to validate our inner world, share it, discover new things we never knew before and ‘transform’ the world around us from power-over to power-with.
What was your favorite part of the writing and publishing process?
My writing process is driven by what I call ‘morning writing’. That is when I sleep on the topic I am writing about, and in the morning I wake up (sometimes at 2 or 3 or 4) and am full of ideas about what I was thinking about… If I’m lucky I awake at normal hours. Sometimes it’s as though the ideas are coming through me and I need to keep up with them. For the publishing process, my difficulty has always been organizing the ideas into bite size pieces that can become valuable to the reader. Working with Bibliomotion was really a powerful experience for me. While I’ve written other books, this book was different. Erika really helped me pull out what was the best and how to structure it. I let go of 100 pages of content that just didn’t fit. I was thrilled to have help to ‘cut out’ and tighten at the same time! It was powerful…
Who do you hope reads your book? What do you want them to get from it?
Everyone! The ideas in this book are for everyone who wants to figure out how to change their conversations to change their life! This is the most fundamental and powerful skill for all humanity. To understand that conversations have levels, and each level has a form, and that they can move into different conversations using conversational agility gives everyone the chance to use conversations to transform their history!
Who was the #1 influencer for your work?
I grew up in a family where there where two dynamics that started me thinking about how conversations were more than sharing information. My mother was an introvert and always read books about how to engage. My father started out as a stutterer, and had a teacher who helped him learn to speak without stuttering. She was the drama teacher and helped him by coaching him into his ‘role’ and when he was in it his stuttering went way. So my interest was in the neuroscience that was taking place in my father and the conversational skills that my mother needed to learn – and together they birthed my life’s work.
Every conversation that I have that either goes well or not well has influenced my thinking about Conversational Intelligence. I have cataloged them in my mind and in documents that I save. Then I go back and look for patterns that are significant.
What is your favorite book?
Give and Take, by Adam M Grant, is a wonderful new book that captured my interest – it speaks to the hardwired power of the ‘human exchange’ and how we are hardwired for the ‘give and take’ or ‘tit for tat’ experience – I believe this is powerful. I also read Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, and am thrilled that this concept has had such an influence on women and men. Also Dan Pink’s To Sell is Human, and Drive…