“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.” ~ Mark Twain ~
Conversation is the lubricant that keeps us moving, whether in the workplace or all other areas of our lives. It serves a number of purposes; from sharing information and to connecting with each other at deeper emotional and spiritual levels. It is the glue that binds us together and determines how well, and at what level, we are able to relate to each other. At work, conversations help us to get to know those we work with and, if done well, creates bonds of friendship and trust that establish strong working relationships and teams. Since communication operates on an emotional level as well as an intellectual one, high emotional intelligence helps us communicate more effectively.
Here are 7 reasons why emotionally intelligent people are able to communicate so well:
Are aware of their own emotional state
Emotionally intelligent people are aware of their emotional state and how it affects their conversation with others. They are able to use this information, to manage their emotions, before going into a conversation so their emotions do not get out of hand and take charge of the conversation. This awareness allows them to delay or stop themselves from speaking to someone in a harsh or judgmental manner, if they feel they don’t have their emotions in check.
Aware of the emotional state of others
Their awareness of how people are feeling allows those with good emotional intelligence to check in if they sense that something is amiss. Their empathy and sensitivity allows others to feel comfortable sharing what is going on with them. Their awareness alerts them to the tone of words, body and other non-verbal language which gives powerful clues as to how a person is feeling.
Take the time to build relationships
Taking the time to build relationships is important, in any endeavor, which allows people with strong emotional intelligence competencies to become masters at it. When they want something from someone, they take the time to ease into the technical aspects by taking the necessary efforts to find out what is going on for the person emotionally in the moment. This paves the way for smoother and more successful interactions for everyone involved.
Aware of others in the conversation and include them
Have you ever had a three way (or more) conversation where you felt totally ignored by the person speaking? Did they direct their conversation entirely towards one or more of the people they were talking to? Awareness of their environment allows people with good EI to be conscience of others in the conversation. This also necessitates to include them by ensuring they take turns and go around and look at everyone while they are speaking. While focusing their attention towards the person they are directing their comments to at the moment, they never lose track of the fact there are others involved.
Have well developed listening skills
Good conversations are as much about listening as they are about speaking. People with a healthy dose of EI are more likely to take the time to actively listen instead of thinking of a response while the other person is speaking. If the message or intention is not clear, they will ask for clarification. It is important that the other person(s) feel heard, even if they don’t agree with them. Feeling they are heard helps break barriers and encourages the speaker to continue to open up and share.
Look for areas of agreement and common ground
To further develop healthy and meaningful conversations, we have to be able to find common ground; even if there is little agreement about what is being said. People with strong EI are able to pick out and appreciate subtleties of what the other is saying. This helps the conversation continue in a respectful and warm manner even if there are sharp differences in opinion. Their ability to not take on others emotions and manage their own, allows them to influence the tone and mood of the conversation.
Able to disagree without being rude, disrespectful or arrogant
When there is disagreement with another’s viewpoint, people strong in EI are able to find ways to express their differences without putting down the other person or dismissing their ideas. This allows to form connections and relationships with people from wide range of perspectives and ideas. In workplaces, people with high EI skills are often sought out for their mediation and team building abilities.
Putting it all together
People who are able to understand and manage their own emotions and those of others, are able to effectively navigate all the subtleties and nuances that can derail conversations that may end in conflict and hurt feelings. They are able to use those skills to support people they are talking to feel heard and appreciated, regardless of how much they can actually agree on.