Conversational intelligence

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Following the disruptive events of the 2016 Presidential State of the Nation, the School of Etiquette’s government protocol expert, Fraser Carey, offers insight into how leaders might make use of Conversational Intelligence to ensure respectful and productive debates during this next week’s parliamentary debate, when members of parliament will be allowed to weigh in on and pose questions regarding the President’s speech.

According to Carey, the conflict displayed during the State of the Nation address could be remedied through an understanding of the art of getting along. “When one engages with an enemy, the brain releases the stress hormone cortisol as well as adrenaline, which shut down one’s ability to think rationally and analytically; it counters any sense of trust and prevents the parties from being able to listen to one another effectively,” he explains.

This sense of mistrust and aggression has the potential to lead South Africa towards a situation where the custodians of the country are too embroiled in their own indignation to successfully address the nation’s real concerns. The biggest losers in this scenario are the citizens of the country over which the warring parties are fighting.

By developing Conversational Intelligence, members of parliament may be able to find common ground and make positive headway towards achieving meaningful objectives. He elaborates on this, “Conversational Intelligence shows us how to get to a place of sharing, discovery and co-creation of our future, where all parties collaborate on moving South Africa towards a future filled with hope.”

Carey explains that by conversing from a basis of respect and trust, the brain releases the hormone oxytosin, which creates a rapport between conversants, engendering empathy and understanding so that they are able to see their way to co-creating, sharing and innovating together as allies rather than combatants.

Members of parliament are encouraged to develop their Conversational Intelligence, a course which is offered by the School of Etiquette, in the lead-up to the upcoming parliamentary debate, and to address one another in a way that leads to positive progress towards a brighter future for all.

For more information, visit or contact them directly on 083 373 1371 or at

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Issue 83


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