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8 Brilliant TED Talks That Will Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

8 Brilliant TED Talks That Will Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

As the world becomes increasingly automated through machines that replace human labor, there still exists something that robots can and never will be able to replace – emotional intelligence (EI). EI is the key thing that differentiates us from robots; it is the ability to feel, understand, and manage emotions and behavior within ourselves and amongst other people.

Humans are social beings at heart, and EI understands this by helping us to see the best in others as well as ourselves. This can prepare you for managing any difficult situations that come your way. Investing in your EI therefore ensures longer term success in all aspects of your life. The good news is that EI can be learned no matter how old or young you are, and putting it into practice is completely up to you. Here are eight top picks from TED talks to kickstart your EI growth journey:

1. On Vulnerability

Who: Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston

How it helps: Vulnerability is often seen as a weakness by many; something we should strive to hide from others whenever we feel afraid or incapable. In fact, Brown’s research and experience on vulnerability shows quite the opposite – how being vulnerable helps to enforce an attitude of kindness and gentleness towards yourself and others, and to prevent the blame, addiction and judgement that can arise from the tendency to hide one’s imperfection.

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2. On Compassion

Who: Daniel Goleman

How it helps: In this classic TED talk, Goleman shares his insights on compassion, one of the main factors that determines your emotional intelligence. Through engaging stories, he notes the inherent motivation behind being compassionate towards others, explains how empathy separates us from becoming sociopaths, and touches on examples of compassion that truly make the skill worth practicing.

3. On Love and Acceptance

Who: Andrew Solomon, Writer on Politics, Culture and Psychology

How it helps: Solomon explains the fine difference between unconditional love and acceptance, and describes his understanding about both concepts from his interviews of numerous families and their children. The touching stories that he shares shows how this is a choice, and will give you fresh perspective on what unconditional love and acceptance does for ourselves and society.

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4. On Smiling

Who: Ron Gutman, Founder and CEO of HealthTap

How it helps: Smiling doesn’t cost us anything, but according to Gutman, is also worth the equivalent of receiving “16,000 British pounds in cash”. In this talk, Gutman takes us through studies on smiling – from our inborn ability to smile without being taught to wide reaching effects of smiling on ourselves and others. Well worth a listen to understand and use the power of a smile.

5. On Stress

Who: Kelly McGonigal, Health Psychologist

How it helps: In a fundamental shift of perspective, McGonigal shows us how stress can help rather than hinder. All too frequently, we get stressed when being unable to cope with our own emotions, or being affected by those of others. However, McGonigal suggests reframing our thoughts into using stress for the better, and we can apply this to how we deal with everyday stressors. A big part of improving EI is also learning to shift your perspective using positive psychology, making this talk incredibly relevant.

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6. On Saying Thank You

Who: Dr. Laura Trice, Counsellor and Coach

How it helps: In just over three minutes, Trice reminds us of the act of saying thank you and why it means so much. When said a certain way, this simple trick we were taught since we were young can boost your EI in no time.

7. On Disagreement

Who: Margaret Heffernan, Management Thinker and Former CEO of 5 Businesses

How it helps: Disagreement sounds like a recipe for disaster, especially when it comes to inter-personal relationships, but Heffernan shows how disagreement can lead to improved and outcomes through communication. A vital tool for anyone looking to boost their EI in an assertive and productive manner.

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8. On Listening

Who: Julian Treasure, Sound Consultant

How it helps: Listening – the skill of paying conscious attention to sound – is becoming increasingly unused as loud and attention grabbing noises continue to overwhelm our world. Treasure speaks of the risks associated with greater noise distraction, such as being more desensitized and less empathetic. Throughout the talk, he gives the audience several methods of improving ways of listening, which are certainly worth trying out. Although featured for businesses, we can take a leaf out of Treasure’s book by remembering to listen and to do it well, in order to increase our sensitivity to others and the environment around us.

Featured photo credit: Athletic Man Jumping Between Rocks In Outdoor National Park by Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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