Emotional intelligence was first coined in 1985, but it wasn’t until 1995 that the concept was popularized after the publishing of psychologist Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Despite being a relatively new term, emotional intelligence is a topic that is become more and more popular in both the psychology community as well as the business community. In fact, many business leaders would argue that emotional intelligence is one of the most sought after leadership traits in a new hire.
A high level of emotional intelligence is a key to not just your ability to lead but also your ability to communicate both during a presentation and in everyday life. When it comes to developing your emotional intelligence, you must start by growing the 4 components that make it up.
The ability to read the emotions of your audience and coworker is the first step in developing your emotional intelligence. While the average person can read when a person is angry or happy, it’s a bit more difficult to read between the lines. Perceiving the underlying emotions of a person requires you to learn to read and understand body language and vocal tones. This is a bit more difficult, but with a little practice, you can become an expert.
Reasoning with Emotions
The next step in developing your emotional intelligence is based on your ability to use emotional information in decision making. It is important to note this is not the same as making emotional decisions; rather, it is the ability to gather the perceived emotions of your audience or coworkers combined with your emotions and motivate people to act based on those emotions.
Understanding emotions is perhaps the most difficult component of emotional intelligence in that it requires you to see beyond the surface of the emotion and look into the cause of the emotion. For example, if a colleague is expressing anger, a leader with a high level of emotional intelligence would look for the underlying issue of the anger. Perhaps they are unhappy with their job, have personal struggles at home, or are dealing with financial strain. By looking for the underlying issue, a great leader is able to respond in a way that is empathetic and kind rather than protective.
The ability to manage emotions is crucial to communicating in an emotionally intelligent way. An emotionally intelligent leader is able to manage not only their emotions but also the emotion of their team. As a communicator, you must look at your audience, your coworkers, and your team and put the first 3 components of emotional intelligence into action. Emotion is a powerful motivator, and when used correctly, it can change the game for you as a communicator.
Emotional intelligence is a leadership trait that sets mediocre leaders apart from great leaders. If you can learn to master it, you will not only become a better presenter and communicator, but you’ll also become a respected leader in your sector.
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