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Boost Your Emotional Intelligence

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 24, 2010

You could have a high intellect and prestigious education. Without emotional intelligence, however, your business will fail. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize, process, and communicate your own emotions as well as understand and react to the emotions of others. It assists in forming our instinctual behavior. If highly developed, it can provide instantaneous answers to complex questions (e.g., "should I do business with this person?") before you’ve had even a second to think about it. In fact, research suggests that EQ accounts for 85 percent of success at work—outweighing both expertise and technical intelligence. Interested in improving your EQ? Here’s how you can start:

Watch yourself. Self-evaluation is by far the best way to improve how you communicate your own emotions. Do an interview on film and watch the footage. Pay attention to your body language, tone of voice, choice of words, and facial expressions. Look for at least one way to improve how you communicate and incorporate it in future conversations.

Show empathy to others. Go beyond listening; be present in conversation. Push everything out of your mind and focus on what the other person is trying to communicate. Don’t provide your feedback until you’ve fully absorbed what the other party has said.

Take responsibility. Own up to your mistakes. Emotional intelligence and ethical and moral standards go hand in hand. It’s impossible to have a high EQ if you can’t admit when you’re wrong.

Take a personality test. This is one of the fastest ways to develop your EQ. Two of the more popular types are Disc profiling and the Myers-Briggs test. Both will give you a better idea of why you function the way you do and will help you understand how to communicate more effectively with personality types different than your own.

Keld Jensen
Centre of Negotiation at Copenhagen Business School

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