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This Is What Will Happen When You Become Emotionally Intelligent

This Is What Will Happen When You Become Emotionally Intelligent

The head and the heart combine to create emotional intelligence. You want to have emotionally intelligent people on your team. They have the ability to navigate through sticky emotional waters. If you were drowning in emotion, you would want an emotionally intelligent person as your proverbial lifeguard.

Emotion Intelligence (EQ) is not a new concept. Two psychologists – Jack Mayer, Ph.D. of the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey, Ph.D. of Yale University were the first to coin the term in 1989.

The Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto explains:

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).

Daniel Goleman is the new father of EQ. His book Emotional Intelligence explains how emotionally intelligent people are really good at handling themselves and relationships.

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Here’s what happens when you become Emotionally Intelligent:

Emotionally Intelligent

    1. You will use your head and heart to solve problems.

    Emotional Intelligence isn’t the triumph of heart over head, it’s the combination of the two. Emotional intelligent people are able to use and regulate emotions in order to solve problems. Some would even argue that EQ is now more important that IQ. Being smart does not necessarily translate into success.

    2. You will have self-awareness when you’re emotionally Intelligent.

    Self-awareness is knowing what you’re feeling, and why you’re feeling that way. It’s about being switched on to what’s going on during an emotional situation. Knowing where feelings are coming from, and helping to figure out how to work through them is an important part of behaving in an emotionally intelligent manner. When we’re upset or overwhelmed for unforeseen reasons, it makes it more challenging to overcome the problem — it’s like going somewhere new without a map.

    3. You will have strong self-management skills.

    Self-management in emotionally intelligent people refers to the ability to regulate emotions. It’s knowing when being emotional is resourceful and when it can be harmful. Some of us wear our heart on our sleeves, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but you’re far more likely to get burned out if you always operate in this way. Some situations call for a big, sobbing cry and other times it’s best to keep it to yourself. Having strong self-management skills is knowing the time and place for emotions.

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    4. You will be a good leader.

    Leaders who don’t lead with their heart are rigid. Daniel Goleman explains:

    The CEO of one of the world’s largest money management firms was puzzled. He wanted to know why there was a Bell curve for performance among his employees, with a few outstanding, most in the middle, and a few poor. After all, he hired only the best and brightest graduates from the top schools – shouldn’t they all be outstanding?

    That same puzzle was explored in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller David and Goliath, which I recently read. Malcolm was befuddled by the finding that many of those in the mid to low achievement spectrum of Ivy League schools did not turn out to be world leaders – despite their SAT scores being higher than even the best students at the so-so colleges, who fared better.

    Gladwell and that CEO share a certain muddle in their reasoning: they assumed that academic abilities should predict how well we do in life. They don’t.

    5. You will be empathetic.

    Empathy is your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Having empathy as an emotionally intelligent person allows you to step outside of yourself and see another person’s perspective. Psychcentral.com says that empathy is a skill that is learned.

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    By the time a child is about 4 years old, he begins to associate his emotions with the feelings of others.

    Empathy is learned through interactions and play when we are young. Dr Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute of Play, was a young professor of psychiatry at Baylor University in Texas when he overheard a live radio broadcast of gunshots occurring during the Charles Whitman massacre in 1966. He was studying aggression and was told by his boss to begin researching why Whitman committed this heinous crime.

    Brown and his team reconstructed Whitman’s life in great detail and over the course of his research Brown became fascinated with the importance of play and the overwhelming connection of lack of play across several other young homicidal men. They all had dysfunctional childhoods, histories of abuse, and/or exposure to abuse, and/or overbearing fathers/ carers.

    6. You will have impressive social skills.

    Having impressive social skills as an emotionally intelligent person isn’t all about being extroverted. Understanding your audience and your environment takes great skill when navigating a social setting. Possessing qualities of an ambivert will allow you to assess the situation and call on the necessary approach to achieve social success. Through acting like an ambivert, you’ll be a great communicator, be good at conflict resolution and work well in a team. Knowing who you’re interacting with and what their needs are shows acceptance and respect, allowing you to make lots of friends and influence people.

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    Emotionally Intelligent

      7. You will be gritty.

      Grit is a relatively new concept researched by Angela Lee Duckworth. She explains in her TED Talk that IQ no longer measures success in students; it’s grit.

      Grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective.

      Watch her talk here: The key to success? Grit.

      Forbes.com describes the five characteristics of grit as courage, contentiousness, resilience, follow-through and excellence.

      8. You will be resilient.

      Resilience is our ability to bounce back from hard times. It doesn’t mean turning your cheek to challenging times, it means embracing difficult emotions and using them as an opportunity to grow. Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, explains the difference between Post Traumatic Stress and Post Traumatic Growth in this Harvard Business Review podcast.

      Take a free EQ Quiz here!

      Featured photo credit: 08 — Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: What You Need — Some of the Icons for Anthony Iannarino’s New Book via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on January 15, 2021

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

      Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

      Posture

      First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

      • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
      • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
      • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
      • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

      All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

      Facial Expressions

      Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

      • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
      • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
      • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

      If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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      1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

      A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

      The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

      This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

      2. Relax Your Face

      New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

      The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

      To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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      3. Improve Your Eye Contact

      Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

      The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

      To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

      3. Smile More

      There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

      Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

      4. Hand Gestures

      Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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      It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

      5. Enhance Your Handshake

      In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

      “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

      It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

      6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

      As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

      Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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      Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

      Final Takeaways

      Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

      If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

      More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

      Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

      Reference

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