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Networking and Emotional Intelligence

2615948_ml Now that your awareness of Emotional Intelligence has been heightened, many readers want to know more. What role does Emotional Intelligence play in my life? Where does it show up? This is the first of a series of posts that highlight how Emotional Intelligence plays a key role in the work environment.

First, a quick look at the foundation of Emotional Intelligence. Research has shown that emotions play an important part in daily living. We gather data from the environment through our senses (i.e. what we see, smell, hear, taste and touch). The information travels a path that passes through the emotional system of the brain first before reaching the rational, logical thinking section of the brain.

When two people are engaged in a conversation, this diagram is at work with both parties.   The speaker and the listener are both experiencing emotions before rational thinking kicks in. The emotional response is just as likely to be unconscious as conscious.   But, even though unconscious, the emotions are present and the path is set.

To put this diagram to work in a business setting, consider a typical networking event. People attend for the purpose of making connections and building their business.   Think of it – everyone who is there has chosen to be there and wants to make connections.   Optimism abounds – a roomful of potential connections, clients, referrals, friends, etc.   Fast forward to the end of the event. What was accomplished? Here are some examples of how emotions can hijack the interaction.

1. Self-Regard – this is the ability to both like and have confidence in yourself. With too little self-regard, your self-confidence will hold you back from making connections. (Your emotion is impacting the connection.) On the other hand, too much self-regard could result in others avoiding contact because you are viewed as arrogant or self-centered. (Their emotion is impacting the connection.)

2. Assertiveness – this is the ability to put your needs, thoughts and opinions out into the world.   With too little assertiveness, you miss the opportunity to clearly convey your message. (Your emotion is impacting the connection.) With too much assertiveness, others may again avoid contact because you are viewed as aggressive or self-centered.   (Their emotion is impacting the connection.)

3. Empathy – this is the ability and willingness to take notice of other people’s needs and feelings.   With too little empathy, the conversation becomes one-sided (“I” centered) and the listener looses interest.   The negative emotions of the listener block the speaker’s message and result in a failure to establish a meaningful connection.

Developing an awareness of how these emotions, among others, impact your social interactions and relationships will significantly improve your success in networking. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) recognizes the importance of emotions in decision-making.

Leaders with high levels of EQ are aware of their own emotions and are able to manage them.  In addition, they are able to pick up on the emotions of others, understand what is going on, and modify their communication appropriately.  The EQ-I 2.0 Assessment will provide measurements along 16 elements that comprise Emotional Intelligence (just 3 were highlighted above) and will also suggest strategies to consider for strengthening those elements key to your personal success.

SSC Coaching is certified to administer and interpret the EQ-i 2.0® assessment. Contact me to learn more about this powerful tool, either for your personal development or for your organization.   For organizations, a full suite of report options are available that are geared toward a business-centric audience.











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