How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results

People talk about all kinds of intelligence in today's world, from being street smart to intellectually intelligent, tech-savvy, emotionally intelligent, and even musical savant. Yet, never have I heard of Conversational Intelligence or C-IQ until someone recommended Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders BUILD Trust and Get Extraordinary Results by Judith Glaser. But after reading this book, I realize this may be the one intelligence everyone has. We utilize it daily, yet it is taken for granted for the most part. It can be developed, but most of the time is not, and people don’t realize its impact at an individual or global level.

Judith Glaser, author, professor at Wharton College of Business, founder and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Benchmark Communication, and founder and chairperson of The Creating We Institute, has written a book to explain what conversational intelligence is and provides a framework to increase this universal intelligence. Yes, this is one intelligence you can improve. 

Glaser writes, “To get to the next level of greatness depends on the quality of our culture, which depends on the quality of our relationships, which depends on the quality of our conversations. Everything happens through conversations.” She defines conversational intelligence as “a framework and perspective that lets us see how conversations create powerful links between relationship and culture.”1

Glaser shares the insights of the neuroscience world, how it affects communication and how we can use this knowledge to increase our conversational intelligence through case studies and real-world examples. She starts by explaining the three levels of communication:

Level 1: Transactional Conversation

Categorized as “tell and ask” conversations. Individuals exchange information, updates, and facts that help us understand our world. 

Level 2: Positional Conversation

An advocate and inquire conversation. This is where people use communication to influence and persuade. 

Level 3: Transformational Conversation

A time to share and discover. Where inner thoughts and feelings are shared in a safe, trusting environment. 

Through the framework, she shows how we can develop our conversation intelligence to transcend to the high-levels of communication by creating trust, being self-aware, and understanding how our neo-network is interlocked with communication.

One fact I found interesting is that Glaser recognizes that there are five brains, each hardwired to help us sort out and through our interactions with others. They are: 

The Reptile Brain recognizes and informs us of threats.

The Limbic Brain recognizes friends and how we fit in.

The Neocortex that sorts thought data.

The Heart-Brain reads and translates the biochemistry our body is transmitting during a conversation.

The Prefrontal Brain helps collect all the information from the other brains and helps engage in the world around us.

Each brain has a distinctly different job, but all are vital to reaching higher levels of communication. 

This book may talk a lot about neuroscience’s connection to communication. Still, the main focus is to create a framework that deepens the understanding and engagement of everyday conversations. The book suggests communication is the key to survival and success in business and life. That is why people, especially leaders, need to read this book. 


1 Glaser, J. E. (2016). Conversational intelligence: How great leaders build trust and get extraordinary results. Bibliomotion.

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