How Does Emotional Intelligence Affect Communication
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (“EI”) has become one of the most popular psychology theories. Many claim that it can help you achieve your goals and improve your overall quality of life.
Some even say that having high EI is an integral part of being successful in business or in relationships.
Given all this attention, it seems surprising that no one agrees on what “emotional intelligence” actually means. In fact, some researchers suggest dropping the term altogether because it is not clearly defined!
This article will go into more detail about how different psychologists define emotional intelligence, why these differences matter, and how they relate to communication.
Emotional literacy is also mentioned occasionally under the broader label of emotional intelligence. Since I already covered that concept in my article Why People Hate The Term ‘Compassion Training’, I will focus only on emotional intelligence here.
Relationship between emotional intelligence and happiness
Recent studies suggest that being emotionally intelligent is one of the most important things to be looking for when seeking happiness in your life. Having high levels of emotional intelligence helps you handle stress better, gives you motivation to do things, and enhances relationships with people close to you and at work.
Many experts believe that being more emotionally intelligent can help you achieve overall happiness in your life. You will feel happier if you are able to recognize and understand your emotions and learn how to manage them.
However, there is an important distinction to make here. It’s not enough just to know what someone else’s feelings are and then use that information to decide whether they are happy or unhappy. That isn’t real empathy.
You have to go beyond that by putting yourself in their place and considering why they might be feeling the way they are. Only then can you determine whether they are indeed happy or not.
Ways to improve your emotional intelligence
Developing your emotional quotient (EQ) is an ever-evolving process that requires you to recognize, understand and manage your emotions.
It’s also important to learn how to use emotion for motivation and influence — something most of us need help with!
Research shows that people who are high in EQ are more likely to be successful at work, home and social settings. They are less prone to arguments and conflicts, and tend to relate well to others.
So, what makes someone have higher EQ?
There are several factors that contribute to this personality trait, such as: being able to identify and name your own feelings, understanding why other people feel the way they do and what can make them change their mind or behavior, and using these insights to your advantage.
But first, let's look at some ways to boost your emotional intelligence right now.
Teach people to be happy
When we are not in touch with our emotions, it can negatively impact how well we communicate. Disconnected individuals may put up more barriers than necessary when communicating with others.
They might say things that hurt someone’s feelings or don’t seem interested in what other people have to say. They could also go along with bad behavior because they do not speak up for moral reasons.
By teaching people to be happier, you will help them connect with their emotional intelligence. This is important as there is a lot of talk about EQ these days.
Happy people contribute to successful relationships and communication. By being aware of your own emotions and those of others, you will know what to do next. You will also learn how to effectively use silence and listening as tools in conversations.
Learn to laugh
A good sense of humor is one of the most important skills you can develop because it enables you to deal with life’s challenges more effectively.
A healthy sense of humor helps you get through stressful times in your own life and also improves relationships.
When you are able to see the funny side of things, stress doesn’t have as big an impact on you. You may even find yourself laughing at difficult situations instead of crying or screaming.
You need to be able to recognize when something isn’t so funny but also know how to respond appropriately. For example, by staying calm and rational.
Many professionals learn how to manage their emotions during work hours, but what about after?
Does anyone ever really stop being emotional?
If you want to improve your communication skills, start practicing using appropriate levels of emotion. Also, try learning some basic jokes to make others chuckle.
Happy accidents sometimes offer great lessons.
Spend time with friends
Letting go of emotional control is difficult, especially when you’ve got a lot going on in your life. When you are surrounded by people that have low levels of EQ, it can sometimes seem like an impossible task to try and develop yours.
Friends that talk about how great they are every chance they get may not be helping you to develop your own self-confidence. It can also prove annoying for them to see you trying hard to be happier than them.
In fact, some studies suggest that having more high empathy individuals around you actually makes you feel lower level of empathy yourself! The same goes for those who enjoy putting others down — this can make you feel bad about yourself if you don't understand why someone would say such things.
By contrast, people who show signs of low EQ – being negative or arrogant most of the time, for example – can help inspire you to have your own sense of confidence. They may push you to do better because of their poor inner state.
Find your passion and those who feel the same
Developing emotional intelligence is not about being able to identify what makes you feel good and then doing that all the time, it’s thinking about how other people perceive you and trying to determine why they think the way they do.
This is particularly important in the workplace, where communication can make or break the relationship. In fact, a Harvard Business School study determined that having high emotional quotient (EQ) will increase employee retention by more than 20 percent!1
So, how does emotional intelligence affect communication? By understanding how emotions work and how others process information, you can improve your relationships, enhance teamwork, and even achieve success beyond what you thought was possible.
It also helps you manage yourself and your own emotions so you are never forced into acting irrationally because you overexerted yourself. And we have all seen cases of over-exuberance that backfired and ended in disaster.
Become a good listener
In addition to being able to recognize what people are trying to get across, you have to be willing to listen. When someone else has an opinion or story to tell, they will usually spend some time telling it to you before switching strategies and asking if you want to add anything.
This is especially important in conversations where one person is talking more than the other. For example, if your friend is speaking more than you, try listening more than you would normally so that they can sense that you are paying attention.
By doing this, they may feel comfortable sharing their thoughts more completely because they know that you care about them. This also helps you hone your own communication skills as you learn how to pay close attention to others’ stories.
You can even use what you have learned about emotional intelligence to motivate yourself to do so. By understanding the reasons why people talk about certain things, you can work to make them happier by agreeing with them or showing interest in what they say.
Emotions connect us with each other, and knowing how to relate to them helps us understand our friends, family, and colleagues better.
Don’t be egotistical
Even if you're trying to help someone else, don't put too much emphasis on yourself. This could backfire and hurt your friendship or even damage their trust in you.
We all have different personality types, and some people may not like how self-focused you can be. They might feel that they are being ignored or pushed away because things get focused on more about you than them.
It's important to remember that everyone has different priorities and life goals, and it is assumed that other people want what they want and pursue happiness according to their own definitions of it.
Running around telling others off for not recognizing your brilliance is going to make them think twice about sharing their dreams with you.
On the contrary, when they see you actively working on improving yourself, they will admire you and maybe even try to imitate you. That's why having a sense of self-confidence is so valuable — it helps you believe in yourself and give yourself credit for your achievements.