Ep. 126, host Chris Hadnagy speaks with researcher and project manager at the CreatingWE Institute, Nicklas Balboa. Find out what Conversational Intelligence© is and how our neuroscience, physiology, and psychology all play into creating three different levels of conversation. You’ll also hear valuable tips about how to have better conversations that can transform your daily interactions. – Feb 10, 2020


Ep. 126 – Conversational Intelligence with Nicklas Balboa

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Show Notes

Ep. 126

Nicklas Balboa studied cognitive and brain sciences at Tufts University. His mother introduced him to Judith and Richard Glaser at The CreatingWE Institute.

  • Studying Conversational Intelligence® requires a human-centric methodology. There is a need for understanding Conversational Intelligence® (C-IQ) right now. The CreatingWE Institute specializes in shaping cultures through neuroscience research and Conversational Intelligence®.
  • First, we need to gain a mastery of our nervous systems through conversations. Conversations affect us at a cognitive level, but also at a biochemical and neural level. Chris and Nicklas discuss how conversations change in online and digital settings. What dictates our behavior in a face-to-face situation is different than over the phone or texting. When you remove the bodies from the interaction it completely changes everything. When we’re in person and we’re having conversations, we’re processing words and finding meaning in words, but we’re also exchanging energy.
  • Conversational Intelligence® is our human ability to connect, navigate, and grow with each other. We all hold this ability. We do have primitive conditioned responses that can supersede anything. Cognition does enable us to reflect on things and build habits. When you develop your C-IQ, you can understand how your brain and body interact to produce your experiences and how you can start to take control of your own experiences. If you look at how people and parties interact, there’s always a level of belief.
  • In Level I most conversations are transactional. These conversations confirm what we know and provide a platform for giving and receiving information. Listening to confirm is a low level of listening. Meaning is embedded in the listener on Level I.
  • In this case, we are transacting information. We need to think about how sentences will be received.
  • Level II conversations are positional conversations. This is where partners start exploring each other’s positions, they listen to accept or reject ideas, they’re now sharing a space. By understanding we have reality gaps we can begin to work with others to ask more questions and start a dialogue of trust.
  • Sympathy is setting an intention to care for someone. Empathy involves actually feeling what the other person does. Compassion supersedes all. This is wanting to help someone, feeling what they’re feeling, and then to actually help them.
  • We can start our conversations with sympathy. In Level I you’re almost stuck in your own head. In Level II you’re pulling out the meaning of what someone is saying.
  • Individual differences will account for how regularly you engage in the different levels and with whom. Trust is the foundation of healthy relationships.
  • You do need trust to emerge into these different levels. But knowing what trust is at a physical level is something we’re just now beginning to understand.
  • Level III, transformational conversations, are all about exchanging energy. These conversations are co-creative in nature and very transformative. In Level III, you create a platform to participate with others in. It creates a sense of shared success and empowers everyone involved to fully participate. When you’re in a Level III conversation you’re fully connecting with the other person. In Level III, you’ve completely quelled your danger and threat instincts. You’ve down-regulated your stress response. Your social engagement systems will come online. There will be more bonding and a feeling of well-being. The art of the conversation is figuring out how to navigate these levels and figuring out when to access the right dimension.


3 Key Points:

  • Conversational Intelligence® helps us understand how our brains and bodies interact to create our experiences and how we can learn to control our experiences.
  • The Conversational Intelligence© Matrix describes three levels of conversation: transactional, positional, and transformational.
  • In order to improve C-IQ, an individual must begin recognizing reality gaps, asking more questions of others, and letting their guard down.

Resources Mentioned: