This short (8 minute) video provides an introduction to emotional intelligence (EQ) and empathy. It explains why emotional intelligence is important for personal and business relationships.

(Video script – an introduction to emotional intelligence (EQ) and empathy)

HI I’m Kim Tasso. In this short video I will introduce you to the idea of emotional intelligence and why it is so important for everyone – for getting on with people whether they are your peers, your team members, your clients or your family and friends.

What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?

Most people know about IQ – Intelligence Quotient – which measures cognitive, intellectual and problem-solving skills. That’s the rational side of things. EQ or EI is Emotional Intelligence – that’s the emotional or human side of things.

EQ is how well you know and manage the emotions of yourself and others “The ability to perceive, integrate, understand and reflectively manage one’s own feelings and other people’s feelings”

Unlike IQ you can improve your EQ

Why is EQ so important?

EQ is an important soft skill (here’s a short video on soft skills)

  • Tested alongside 33 other important skills, EQ subsumes most of them, including time management, decision-making and communication.
  • EQ accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs, and is the single biggest predictor in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.
  • 90% of high performers are also high in EQ – people with high EQs make more money (an average $29,000 more per annum in one study).

The statistics and model I use is described in Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Drs Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves (TalentSmart, 2009)  I particularly like this book as it includes a reliable online assessment of your EQ.

The model has FOUR elements – two concerned with your own emotions (personal competence) and two with the emotions of others (social competence)

Self-awareness (Mirror)

Emotions are how we interpret physical and chemical reactions in our bodies. For example, we may feel butterflies in our tummies and interpret this positively as excitement or negatively as nervousness

Some researchers have found that only 36% of people tested can accurately identify their emotions as they happen – other researchers have put this number as low as 10%

How aware are you of what you are feeling? How good are you at naming your emotions?

“Although 95% of people think they’re self-aware, only 10–15% actually are”

Most emotions are felt at different intensities – for example, discomfort, mild irritation, annoyance, anger and rage

How accurately do you know yourself? Are you really a pussycat who others see as a lion – or are you a lion that others see as a pussycat?

Many people use psychometric tests to learn more about their personalities and their strengths and weaknesses – this too increases self-awareness. I made a short video on dogs, cats and bears that talks about personality assessments.

Self-control (Buddha)

Having identified an emotion how good are you at controlling that emotion?

Emotional regulation is something we learn as children – the ability to identify, name and manage an emotion appropriately.

There are techniques to help you manage your emotions. For example, STOP from Timothy Gallwey of Inner Game helps – Step back, Think, Organise your thoughts, Proceed only when you know your best action. Therapists teach their clients grounding too – to become more aware of the physical sensations in your body. I touch on these subjects in a video on building resilience.

Self-management skills appear to increase steadily with age.

While women and men are roughly equal in their ability to recognise their own emotions, men have recently caught up in their ability to manage their emotions and in other skills – so the gender gap is closing.

Being consistent in your behaviour – not prone to unpredictable outbursts – means it is easier for people to trust you.

But self-control is limited – we get decision fatigue as the day goes on – that’s why we can be grumpy with our loved ones in the evenings after a tough day at the office.

Social awareness (Shoe)

I’ve used a shoe here as this aspect of EQ is concerned with empathy – how well you can recognise or feel the emotions of other people.

Empathy is “The power of identifying oneself mentally with (and so fully comprehending) a person or object of contemplation”. There are different types of empathy.

One of my favourite quotes is from the Cherokee “O Great Spirit Grant that I may not find fault with my neighbour until I have walked the trail of life in his moccasins” – or her stilettos!

Part of your empathy skills will come from your ability to read the Non Verbal Communication (NVC) of people – to assess the extent to which the words they say are congruent with their body language – their expressions, their gestures and their posture and tone of voice. There’s more information on NVC here

Relationship management (Soldiers)

Having recognised how other people are feeling – how good are you at managing their emotions?

With EQ we have a psychometric tool to measure your ability to manage relationships – naturally this ability is vital to managers whether considering leadership, change management, sales and business development or supplier arrangements or business growth. I wrote a while ago about the importance of empathy and emotional intelligence when selling professional services.

Be aware of emotional contagion too – how you feel will be picked up and “infect” those around you – make sure they get positive rather than negative vibes

The interesting thing is that there are reliable tools to measure your EQ across these four dimensions

Whereas IQ is fairly fixed, your EQ can be developed. There are lots of ways in which you can improve your EQ – as our brains are plastic – that’s neuroplasticity.

I talk a lot about EQ in all my training workshops and it features in most of my seven books – including Better Business Relationships and most recently in Essential Soft Skills for Lawyers  which is available from Globe Law and Business

Thanks for watching and listening!