“Emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence; it is not the triumph of heart over head. It is the unique intersection of both” (David Caruso)
Emotional intelligence (E.I.) or emotional quotient (E.Q.): These terms are interchangeable and can be used to describe exactly the same thing, namely a person’s ability to perceive and manage emotions within themselves and others.
The reality is there are many factors that will determine what a person can achieve, and the good news is that traditional I.Q. (which is largely set from birth) isn’t the all encompassing determinant we once thought. But rather it is a myriad of other ‘life skills’ including that of high E.Q. which will shape someone’s future the most.
The real world is about problem solving, it’s about rapport building with others who can help you along the journey. It’s about negotiating the day-to-day struggles with an open mind and heart to the issue at hand.
Chapter 1: A Brief History of Emotional Intelligence Models
In 1989 Peter Salovey and John Mayer first attempted to define and confine their model of E.I. within the standard criteria of new intelligence. Their initial definition was based on four concepts 1) The ability to perceive human emotion 2) The ability to integrate that emotion to facilitate thought 3) Fully understand individual emotions 4) Regulate these emotions to promote personal growth.
Chapter 2: Goleman’s E.I. Framework Explained
#1 Self-Awareness This is the ability to recognize your emotions ‘in the moment’, as they happen in real time which is the key starting point. There are two distinct components here:
- Emotional awareness in general, as to say the ability to recognize your own emotions and the effects they have over you.
- Self-confidence and sureness about your self-worth, self-esteem and capabilities in general.
#2 Self-Regulation The next stage in the model is identifying and controlling the disruptive emotions and impulses which arise and adapting them to changes in the environment. Some of these self-regulation techniques will include:
- · Self-control, managing these disruptive feelings and impulses as best you can i.e. not letting them overtake your entire thinking.
- · Trustworthiness, I touched on this within the self-awareness section but having a guide to maintain standards of integrity and honesty can be particularly important.
- · Conscientiousness, i.e. the ability to take responsibility for your own actions and performance.
- · Adaptability, the ability to adapt and be flexible when emotions arise is also fairly critical.
- · Innovation, this is more about being open and even seeking new and novel ideas.
#3 Self-Motivation A fairly critical step to Goleman’s E.I. model and life in general is the notion of being a “self-starter” or having self-motivation. It will require structured thinking and clear goals and a good dose of self-discipline to make the small steps and progress towards these goals. This general motivation is made up of:
- · Achievement drive, to say a constant striving towards progress, excellence and achievement. This is about being results oriented and setting targets and goals and taking on a degree of risk to get there.
- · Commitment, similar to having the initial achievement drive above, it’s also very important to possess a high level of commitment for whatever you are doing.
- · Initiative, this just requires you to prepare to act on opportunities when they arise. “Always be ready so you never have to get ready”
- · Optimism, and in general a person requires an overall optimistic mindset to achieve their goals.
#4 Social Awareness/Empathy The fourth element in this model is the empathy aspect, taking other people’s emotions and feelings into consideration especially when it comes to decision making.
- · Anticipation, it’s about having a service minded attitude. It’s about picking up on and anticipating other people’s intentions and needs and then fulfilling their requirements.
- · Leveraging diversity, this is about cross-cultural cultivation. It’s about recognizing the differences in others and recruiting a diverse group of people to help them and ultimately your own cause.
- · Political awareness, this has more to do with recognizing the current position of others within a social circle, establishing a “pecking order” or hierarchy of status so to speak and working within those parameters.
#5 Social Skills Lastly there is the element of social skills, to effectively be able to manage the emotions, intensions and relationships of others towards a desired direction. “Your network is your net worth”.
- · Influence, generally it is important to acquire the general persuasion skills and natural gravitas to influence others effectively. It requires strong communication and a clear message.
- · Leadership, it also requires a strong sense of leading by example, showing exemplary behavior for others to follow and get inspired by themselves. This also involves an element of conflict management and dispute resolution.
- · Collaboration, along the same lines as the networking analogy above, it is also important to collaborate with others where possible.
Chapter 3: Living Our Limbic Legacy
“The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain” (Daniel Goleman)
Emotional intelligence is therefore a skill which is learned like any other.
Chapter 4: Taking Inventory of Your Emotional State
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” (Aristotle)
Whenever I feel an emotion arise within me I always take a pause and acknowledge its presence, I take a moment and really feel it so I can understand and label it in my mind. This isn’t the same as reacting or acting upon the emotion just yet, but I want to know why it may have arisen and if it could be useful to me. It is also important to take responsibility for these emotions that you are feeling either way, good or bad.
Understand That You Are Not Your Emotions. Learn to Forgive Yourself & Others.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” as the Buddha says. You can’t stop and throw stones at every dog that barks, and that includes yourself when you mess up.
Don’t Get Involved in Negative Self-Talk. This also includes negative self-talk and ‘gossip’ regarding other people. You must try and do your best not to judge others where ever possible.
Chapter 5: Delaying Gratification & Reward
You must make the right efforts towards it in order to smoothen out the process. The idea is this; by foregoing some smaller and more immediate short term rewards you will reap much bigger and better ones at some point in the future. I know I have put the work in up front and I accept the payoff with open arms when it does come. One of the best ways to delay gratification is by prioritizing and knowing what is important for you and what is not. Prioritizing assists with understanding the value of each and every aspect of life. Before tackling any specific task, you will have to first make a long-term and short-term plan to pursue it. Make sure that you have a set time frame in mind while pursuing goals and performing these tasks. Doing so will aid you in knowing what to take on and also what to forgo. It is also always wise to reward yourself with something every now and then to ensure you stay motivated and on track. You just have to remain patient with it and just keep your eyes on the bigger picture.
Chapter 6: Verbal & Nonverbal Influences on Social E.Q.
Interaction and people skills absolutely cannot be avoided in the real world.
The importance of cultivating high level confidence in relation to achieving anything in life cannot be overstated and it will greatly feed into your emotional state. It’s all about small wins. Doing things perfectly which again will build into the positive feedback loops you are trying to create, slowly expanding your comfort zone as you go.
Typically your movements should be as neutral as possible, non-threatening and mimicking the other person which builds a rhythm and harmony to the interaction. You must try to reciprocate everything here to show the other person that you are interested and engaged in what they are saying to build that mutual rapport. Remember never to be restless. If the previous advice was designed to build a smooth and harmonious rapport, the one thing that can undue all of that is a restless and fidgety persona. So avoid it as much as you can.
It’s a good idea to lean in towards the person ever so slightly when listening to them which is an authentic gesture to show that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. But always maintain a straight posture while listening and/or talking and try to make enough eye contact to ensure the person feels important and engaged but not uncomfortable.
Keep your hands free from pockets and in sight. Place them on the table if there is one with palms faced down.
It is possible for you to modulate your voice and control everything from volume, pitch to intonation, so you should do it. Your voice can serve as a great tool. So make sure you practice with various vocal expressions during everyday conversations to see what reactions you get in order to implement the techniques that yield the best responses from others when it really matters.
It is also a good idea to mirror the person’s talking rhythms in addition to the type of language they are using.
What we gain in digital communication, we lose in momentary in-person encounters. Real long term relationships are built off of those small questions you didn’t have to ask, but you did. It’s showing an interest in the other person’s family, their children or parents. Basically, you should be talking to everyone! Small talk will provide a great platform to conquer social anxiety and be open to other people in general. It will also greatly contribute to your likeability factor as a person.
Both internal honesty and external openness to others simply cultivates the greatest amount of peace of mind imaginable. Try to be as open and honest with the people around you when you wish to build a rapport with them.
One of the best tools to use while trying to build rapport and high social E.Q. is humor. Humor can help you connect on a deeper level as you will again demonstrate the commonalities in your personalities and that you view the world in much the same way. But remember to always keep it light and nothing personal!
Chapter 7: Listen Your Way to High Social E.I.
“Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know” (Jim Rohn)
Listening to someone is just as important as speaking to them, if not more so. By paying attention to what others are saying, you will be able to contribute to the conversation in a much more efficient way. You will be acquainted with different perspectives, things that you may not have previously considered. Listening carefully also allows you to avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts.
The first and most important step is to do away with any distractions. If there are distractions around you then they are bound to command your attention. You must try to get rid of them as best you can so that you can pay full attention to the person in front of you.
Make sure you are paying attention to the body language of the person you are speaking with.
Tone, pitch and volume is very important in your own voice but they are also very important aspects to pay attention to when listening to others. These factors will be a clear indication of the person’s true mood.
Along similar lines to avoiding distractions, it goes without saying that if you really want to hear what the other person is saying then you will need to interrupt them as little as possible.
Finally it is a good idea to learn to respect silence and the power that it brings forth. Most people are afraid and uncomfortable with this but often times it’s the silence which helps with understanding the other person better. So don’t be afraid of the pauses and silence. In general, longer pause’s signals reflection within the person, so give them this time. Allow the person to fully experience and authenticate what they are feeling before you try to figure out what they are feeling.
Chapter 8: Specific Techniques for Building Situational Empathy
I have already alluded to this small talk style empathy building process but one of the main components you need to start with is to let the other person know more about you than they currently do.
When you are mirroring another person’s behavior they will pick up on this very quickly, more than likely subconsciously to begin with and start to mimic you back. Try to match the speed and vocal tone of their speech patterns. One of the techniques that works for me very well is repeating the other person’s words and grievances back to them especially within a consulting environment. Nothing builds a bond more strongly than a person who feels their wants and needs are being understood and met by another person.
The notion of utilizing a high degree of emotional language when you speak with others.
Along the same lines as using the right amount of emotional vocabulary, you should also be using disarming style statements such as the “I agree” principle. I would tend to use this tactic when I feel that I’m losing someone in a connection sense within a discussion. This applies to everything by the way, even things you do not agree with. The point here isn’t to win the argument but again it is about getting the other person back onside in terms of their emotional state. It doesn’t mean that you are backing down, just disarming the person of any psychological resistance to your discussion and ensures they are likely to initiate the urge within them to reciprocate in a more emotionally open way.
It would be nice if it were that black and white but as you know, life is lived in the gray areas.
Bonus Chapter 3: The Four Stages of Competence
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do” (Bruce Lee)
This model can also be termed as the ‘Conscious Competence Model’ and was originally formulated and described as the ‘Four Stages of Learning Any New Skill’ by Noel Burch whilst he was working at Thomas Gordon’s psychological institute during the 1970’s. Here are the four stages explained in greater detail:
1. Unconscious Incompetence : “ignorance is bliss”.
2. Conscious Incompetence : “I now know what it is that I do not know”
3. Conscious Competence : “I now know how to complete this skill or task with success, but I still have to intensely concentrate on it whilst performing it”
4. Unconscious Competence : “I know what I have to do and I do not have to think about it in order to do so” . It’s often described as a state of “flow” or “effortless existence”.
Bonus Chapter 6: Framing Techniques
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you cannot change it, change the way you think about it” (Madras Proverb)
Humans tend to learn lessons and ascribe meaning to things due to the events surrounding that situation.