Last week, I wrote about Emotional Intelligence (EI) from a fairly abstract, theoretical perspective. So, to redress the balance, this week I want to get wholly practical. I have been through The Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook, by Margaret Chapman, and selected my favourite tips and tools to help you increase your EQ, and adapted them for you.
Step 1: Self Awareness
Tune in to mood – yours and others. Start to notice the way people stand or sit. Where they look when they are interacting with you or other people, the quality of their voices, and their gestures and expressions.
Now tune in to your own mood. How are you feeling? Start to inventory your body for tensions and awkwardness. What does this tell you? How do you move and what postures are you adopting? Listen to your voice, is it steady and confident or hesitant and weak?
Get into the habit of doing this and it will start to become second nature.
* Adapted from Gauging the Mood and Getting in Touch with your Feelings exercises
Step 2: Emotion Management
If you detect a stressful or uncomfortable feeling in yourself, Stop!
Calm yourself by relaxing your muscles and adjusting your posture. Take deeper, slower breaths. Recall a time when you felt strong, confident, playful… Now think about how you want to handle the situation that you are facing.
* Adapted from Freeze Frame Technique
Step 3: Self Motivation
The Build your A Team exercise is spot on. Margaret offers a useful worksheet which, if you want to identify and create a supportive and life enhancing network of friends and colleagues is worth the price of the book alone. Think of all of the types of support you would like or need (Margaret has done this) and list them. Then, for each one, think who you know at work, and who you know outside of work that can best provide that support.
Now make a plan to speak with each of them.
Step 4: Relationship Management
Extend your A Team list in a new way. This time, list all the people, at work and outside, that you see regularly. Against each one, make a note of their particular skills, knowledge and expertise. This will help you to appreciate the people in your life more, and encourage you to call upon help more readily.
* This one’s my own, inspired by Margaret’s Top Ten Tips.
Step 5: Emotional Coaching
I absolutely concur with the top two skills that Margaret suggests. If you want to coach anyone, hone your abilities to listen and to ask questions. You need little else when you can do these two.