22 Mar Two tips to help improve your Emotional Intelligence
Over the past few years I have learnt more and more about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and the importance it has in everything we do. EQ is our capability to recognise our own emotions and those of others and then manage them accordingly. EQ guru, Travis Bradberry explains that our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is fixed when we are born, but our EQ is something that can be developed and improved. Yes, some people are naturally more emotionally and socially aware than others, but the fact that we can train ourselves in this area is pretty cool.
I have read a lot about EQ (something I am a little obsessed with), and in the name of ‘simplicity’; I think the following two tips are a good place to start if you want to improve yours.
TIP 1: Be aware of the way we tell and share our own stories
Ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it”. Humans are all so complex, and it can be easy to forget that we all feel, think and process things differently, hence the way we say things can often be misinterpreted. Increasing your EQ means being aware of the way we share a story or a view, so think about the below two-pointers the next time you’re adding to a conversation.
- Your tone
Depending on the situation, it is important to try and ensure the tone you are using is not aggressive or defensive, but cool, calm and collected. This can be difficult if your emotions are heightened, so if this is the case, try and take 3-5 big breaths before sharing or asserting your input.
- Relate to the people you are around
This depends on the situation but sharing stories that relate to the people you are talking to is useful because it will not only add value to the conversation but also ensure for a quicker connection, instead of those dreaded ‘awkward silences’ and blank looks. This is easier said than done, so the next time you get caught out, reflect on how you could have made your story more relatable and interesting.
TIP 2: Be aware of the way we react to stories others share with us
We constantly talk with people who will share stories that we may not agree with, but improving your EQ means empathising with people to make them feel comfortable and not judged when sharing stories with you. I have found the following three considerations really helpful when I am listening to a story that may go against my better judgement.
- Body language
This is something that can be difficult to control if we are listening to a story that is quite opposite to who we are. However, I find that being aware of my body language especially facial expressions and eye-contact is a really good way to keep what I am thinking in my head, and not make the person talking feel uncomfortable.
- Follow-up questions
I don’t know about you, but I always feel really good when someone asks me prompts and questions about a story I am sharing. For me, this shows that they are interested in what I am saying and are actually listening (active listening).
- Taking another person’s perspective on board
As mentioned earlier, it is easy to forget that other people feel and think differently to you. When someone is sharing their views about something that may be different to your own, it’s important not to interrupt and force your opinions on them. This will only make them feel uncomfortable, frustrated, embarrassed and un-heard, which is never nice. Try and hear them out, empathise with their point of view and then present your view in the right tone and manner that is respectful.
Our business would not succeed if we didn’t have a level of EQ, which I am on a journey of strengthening every day. Like anything in life, once you are aware of it, you can improve it. From my own experience, improving your EQ will increase the way you connect with your friends, family, colleagues and most importantly yourself.
- Body language
- Your tone