Master your E.I.

Master your Emotional Intelligence (EI)

You ever notice how a dog instinctively knows when you’re sad, the way that they come up and give you that reassuring lick and try to make you feel better? How do they know? is it emotional intelligence that drives them to respond?

The short answer is yes.

Now, I am not for one minute suggesting that your dog is smarter than you, just kinder and more in tune with their feelings. But worry not, because the following four strategies for Perception, Reasoning, Understanding and Management, might help us even the playing field.

Let’s look at these in more detail.

The first step is understanding, this means noticing body language and nonverbal cues. Ask any parent and they instinctively know when their child is frightened, angry, or upset.

But it translates into business too. We all dislike meetings, we all spend too much time in them, we all wish we could be anywhere else. So how do we increase their effectiveness?

By making them exciting, set your location wisely and flood the room with energy. You see the brain is amazing, but easily fooled so when the environment is pleasing and the conversation has energy, heuristics will link these external factors to the information being presented and the message will be more easily absorbed.

The next step is reasoning or feeling emotion without bias. Now this is a tough one because at one stage or another we have all been emotionally unreasonable. Maybe you assumed nobody cares about you because you felt lonely, or convinced yourself of your partners infidelity when they went to Butlins for that 80’s weekender.

Maybe it’s the person in the meeting whose intentions are misinterpreted because or prior criticism?

At times our thoughts get the better of us, even in business. If your customer feels that something will fail, or misinterpret your intentions, they will pull away and be closed to persuasion.

To combat this, we need to practice empathy and validate people’s feelings. That person complaining about not enough hours in the day, acknowledge them, show a moment of compassion. That’s how you connect, build trust, and carry relationships forward.

By reasoning we begin to gain a better understanding of why we think the way we do.

We could all benefit from reflecting before we act, this empowers us to become more self-aware and consider the different factors that contribute to emotion.

For example, is the customer withdrawn from the meeting because they aren’t interested in what you have to say or is it because they have been up all-night caring for an infant? Perhaps they are concerned about organisational changes or suffering with imposter syndrome! Bottom line, read the room and don’t assume.

Now I’m no expert on managing emotion, but age has given me the wisdom to realise that some things are inevitable and dwelling on them never ends well. We all feel burned out at times and nobody can be constantly motivated.

Talk to others, exercise, spend time outside and play to your strengths, these will all help you build emotional intelligence and resilience.

Do this and you’ll become more sensitive to others, you will better connect with co-workers, customers and even family. It will help you identify body language, tone and the general mood of the room. It will help you show empathy and reframe your persuasion tactics, all of which will yield better outcomes.

Take a moment to reflect on the following questions.

Do you find it easy to talk about your feelings?
Is it possible to reframe a situation and change your mood from bad to good?