When most of us think of the skills and traits that it takes to be an effective communicator, we typically think of how important it is to be determined and decisive. We are also likely to consider how important it is to be able to analyse and reason, and have a high degree of intelligence so they can plan, develop strategies and make wise decisions.
One of the most crucial abilities that is often overlooked is emotional intelligence.
Leaders who have a high level of emotional intelligence are more effective than their counterparts. In fact, over a decade of research conducted by the 6 Seconds Organisation shows that companies that employ such leaders experience higher employee morale, lower turnover, and higher engagement and customer satisfaction. These results, in turn, lower costs and increase overall productivity and performance company-wide and improve the company’s bottom line.
Communicators with a high level of emotional intelligence are self-aware and are able to understand and control their own emotions, as well as perceive and empathise with the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence allows these people to practice a higher level of self-management and self-control. This, in turn, allows them to use their emotions to motivate themselves and others.
Having a high emotional intelligence gives people a competitive advantage when it comes to relationships and team building, decision making, and even improving and maintaining their own health and sense of well-being and purpose.
One of the best things about emotional intelligence is that like many other skills, you can increase it through practice, as well as coaching! Use the following tips to boost your emotional intelligence!
One way that you can increase your self-awareness is to ask others to provide honest feedback about how they view you and your actions. Don’t be surprised, or upset, if you discover there are ways that you come across in certain situations that may be less than flattering. Thank others for giving you feedback, and then identify areas that you can work on to improve both how you express your feelings, and how you are coming across to others.
A key area to focus on when improving your emotional intelligence is self-control. If you want to be able to connect with and influence others in a positive way, you must learn how to regulate your emotions and express yourself in a constructive way.
Practice calming your mind before you speak with others or react to situations. Learn to step away from a situation before you make a decision or take action. Practice taking a deep breath, or even a few deep breaths, and gather your thoughts before you speak or react. Try looking at situations, and people, from different angles, seek to understand the emotions behind someone’s actions and behaviour and try to empathise and reframe the situation in a more positive light before you respond.
By taking a few moments to calm down, breath, and reflect, before you react, you are more likely to respond and interact in a constructive, rather than destructive, manner.
One of the critical areas where our level of emotional intelligence comes into play on a daily basis is our communication. After all, it’s not just what we say that is important. How we say something can be equally important to getting our meaning across and avoiding miscommunication.
About 50% of our communication is made up of the words that we say, and how we say them. To improve our ability to relate and communicate with others, it’s important that we slow down and choose our words carefully. We should also realise that we may need to change the way that we speak, the words that we use, and even restate parts of our conversation in order to ensure that our message is received and understood.
The remaining 50% of communication is non-verbal in nature. This is the body language that we use while we are speaking with others. It is very important that our body language matches and mirrors the meaning that we are trying to convey with the words and tone that we use.
Otherwise, we can come across as insincere and conflict can occur. Pay attention to your posture and stance as you talk with others. Make a point to make and maintain eye contact, especially when you wish to emphasise a point, show agreement, and particularly when you meet and greet someone, and when shaking hands.
Our level of emotional intelligence is a direct reflection of who we are, and how well we are able to understand ourselves, and others, and well we are able to interact with, influence and motivate others. It is what allows us to acknowledge the thoughts and feelings of others while also being able to disagree in a constructive manner, and reach a compromise that is fair and beneficial for everyone.
If you are unhappy with your “E.Q.” you can change it! If you need help “fixing” or improving some aspect of your emotional intelligence, why not get in touch today to learn more about the online courses available on our website? Together, we can help you gain the knowledge and skills that you need to increase your effectiveness as a leader!