Ignite

February March 2018

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58 | Ignitemag.ca | February | March 2018 How is it that some people seem to coast through even the most dif- ficult circumstances with relative ease while others are floored by them? Why is it that some employees almost never have a customer complaint made against them even if they make the same mistake as everyone else does? And why do we like going for coffee with one person more than with another? Because some people are more emotionally smart than others. And as a result they're more resilient, more empathetic and more interest- ing. Does this mean that some people "got it" and others don't? Thankfully, no. We all can reap the benefits of being emotionally intelligent because much of emotional IQ (EQ) is learned. Sure, there is a genetic component to this type of intelligence, but by being open to change, anyone can increase their EQ. They just need to be taught the skills needed. In my 25 years-plus teaching communication skills and emotional intelligence, I've noticed three attributes that rise to the surface for those who experience professional satisfaction: resilience, empathy and curios- ity. Let's take a look at each. RESILIENCE: We all need mental strength; after all, life can be tough. Mental fortitude is not about building a mental bunker and hunkering down; it's about challenging irrational thinking that's making us feel badly. Briefly, thoughts cause emotions, emotions inform behaviour, and that behaviour is what we all see. Simply, when you're feeling mad, bad or sad…ask yourself, why? If this sounds overly simplistic, you're right. It's not rocket science. In fact, the actual attempt to locate the mental source of bad feelings is often enough to minimize their effect. Quick caveat: sometimes feeling bad, mad or sad is perfectly warranted. We're talking about the things that get us down but shouldn't. This type of mental resilience is available to anyone who is willing to just pause and reflect on what's bothering them. If it doesn't make sense, challenge it. CORPORATE COMMUNICATION TRAINER PAUL BYRNE SHARES HOW TO BUILD YOUR EMOTIONAL IQ Smart thinking EMPATHY: The cornerstone of EQ is empathy. This is probably the most underutilized behaviour of all. Empathy is not feeling sorry for someone (it's not sympathy). Empathy is understanding and appreciating someone's perspective when we disagree with them. Understanding and appreciating the perspective of another with whom we agree is easy…it's called agree- ment. Empathy is in short supply because it's required of us when it's most difficult. Our empathy EQ is required in the instant of frustration and anger. It's at this moment we need to force ourselves to fully understand the other party and then think about ourselves. This is not to say we need to agree with everyone, far from it. But when we do disagree it must be based on as much understanding as possible. CURIOSITY: The third EQ pillar to life and career satisfaction is that people like us. We like going to work when we know others (co-workers, customers, etc.) like us. The surefire way to be liked is to be interested in others. The motto is: better to be interested than interesting. Demonstrating curios- ity in the lives of people around us is the single best way to emotionally connect. There's even compelling research to support the business case for being more curious. Interestingly, what resonates most with others is our interest in them as people, it's not so much about the present tense (the here and now). It's about another person's story: where they're from, their childhood, their path to where they are now. Try it! Today at coffee break ask someone about their past. I promise you, they'll love you for it. We all know someone who exudes a warmth and confidence that is undeniable and infectious. With a little thought and practice that someone can be you. Paul Byrne is a Canadian-based communication skills professor and prin- ciple at Mackay Byrne Group, specializing in the delivery of experiential workshops across North America. mbg.ca GREAT MINDS return on you

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