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10 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

10 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is defined by the Institute for Health and Human Potential as the awareness that our emotions greatly influence our behavior, and the behavior of others. The ability to manage and express emotions appropriately is necessary because it allows for greater success within the workplace, personal relationships, and with oneself. High emotional intelligence has benefits for one’s self awareness, self management, motivation, empathy and social skills. Discover helpful ways to improve these rewarding skills by checking out our tips below!

 

Self Awareness

1. Listen to, and accept yourself

Take a moment to objectively observe how you feel at different points throughout the day. In the hustle and bustle of life in the 21st century, it’s easy to neglect our feelings in the interest of saving time. Re-familiarizing yourself with your emotions can help you to understand yourself and your behavior. Effective means of engaging in this observation are practicing yoga or meditation, journaling, or simply defining times throughout the day at which you will reflect momentarily.

Self reflection in nature

2. Take responsibility

During this observatory time, take responsibility for your feelings. Understand that there is no right or wrong way to feel, and accept the way that you naturally react to things. Accepting your feelings will assist you in being able to ultimately control them. To do this, you must acknowledge your triggers, both positive and negative. Then, it is essential to put this information to action by seeking relationships and situations that present you with positive triggers, while eliminating or minimizing negative ones. For example, if you often find yourself feeling unhappy at work then it could be helpful to explore a job more suited to your passions, or build stronger relationships with your coworkers.

A person deep in thought

Self Management

3. Set goals based on your findings

Set personalized goals based on the observations you have made about yourself. Know who you are, and compare that person to who you want to become. Then, set goals accordingly. For example, if during your observation you discover that you have a short temper, actively seek out ways to correct this. Solutions may include exercising to focus your rage on other things. Ensure to define and follow through with your goals because self awareness is useless in the absence of agency and action.

To do list

4. Concentrate on yourself

Focus on yourself without comparing your achievements to other’s. Every journey to emotional intelligence is different, and therefore incomparable. Technologies such as social media have endless benefits, but also promote constant comparison. If necessary, it could be helpful to take a step back from social media and online engagement to truly focus on yourself. It is important to consider that you are only in control of your own emotions and behaviors, and not to get caught up in the actions of others.

Adults using social media

 

Motivation

5. Be realistic, but aspirational

It is important to set goals that are achievable. When you reach these goals, it is also important to reward yourself. However, your goals should not be so attainable that you are not challenged. Set goals that will challenge you, but that you can ultimately accomplish. A great way to ensure that you stay accountable is by committing to goals publicly, so that the friends and family in your social circle can assist you by keeping you motivated.

Two friends having a conversation in nature

6. Reduce negative emotions

A positive outlook is essential to remaining motivated. Anticipate roadblocks, but know that you can overcome them. If you are mentally prepared for potential problems, you will be more efficient at solving them. Don’t forget, you’ve made it through all of your previous worst days!

Two happy faces sitting on a bench

Empathy

7. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

The most effective way to practice empathy is by actively listening to others. Do your best to understand what others are saying, prior to considering your response or reaction. Acknowledge that the experiences that have shaped you are different to the other person’s, and remember that there are always at least two sides to every story.

Two subjects comforting each other

8. Trust others, and they will trust you too

Trust is a fundamental part of being empathetic. In order to experience empathy, you must allow yourself to experience vulnerability.

Team high five between colleagues

Social Skills

9. Listen to and accept others

Different people will inevitably react differently to their emotions and situations because everyone experiences things subjectively. Learn to accept other’s feelings even if they are different to yours. An effective way of engaging in this acceptance is by practicing empathy, and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

A group of friends embracing and smiling

10. Emotions are contagious

 

To improve your social skills, learn to control your own emotional responses to situations. If you exude positive emotions, those in your environment will reflect this. For example, your optimistic outlook on life will likely inspire those around you.

 

A group of friends laughing and embracing

 

Below are a few examples of individuals demonstrating high emotional intelligence.

Example 1

Colleagues discussing business

In this scenario, your boss pulls you into a meeting to discuss your recent work.

Boss: I wanted to sit down with you to acknowledge the fact that, recently, I’ve been finding your work very sloppy and I’m unimpressed. 

An individual with high emotional intelligence would listen to the superior’s concerns, reflect, and potentially realize that his or her work has been lacking recently. A highly emotional intelligent person would be able to identify that he or she has been distracted at work due to increased stress in other aspects of life, and be able to relay this to the superior.

Employee: I’m so sorry that my work hasn’t been satisfactory, I’ve been distracted due to problems in my personal relationships, but this is no excuse for my poor performance this quarter. In the future, I will be sure to work harder to keep my personal and professional life separate. Would you mind sharing your specific frustrations so that I can actively work to correct them immediately? 

This instance demonstrates a high level of emotional intelligence because the employee responds to the boss with an acknowledgement of his or her wrongdoing, an apology, and a plan of action for the future to correct the undesirable behavior. The employee does not react with rage because time is taken to reflect on the situation, prior to the response.

Example 2

Friends supporting each other

In this scenario, your close friend is going through a hard time and is confiding in you. 

Friend 1: My family member is ill and I am worried.

An individual with high emotional intelligence would demonstrate empathy for the friend. The best thing to do is actively listen, and allow the friend to speak about the experience. Then, offer to help in any way that you can.

Friend 2: I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through a hard time, I am here for you! Is there anything that I can do to help?

A large part of emotional intelligence revolves around the ability to recognize the emotions of others, and respond accordingly. Striving to understand the hardships of others helps you to build more connected, and longer lasting relationships.

We hope that these tips help you in your personal and professional environment by providing you with insights into yourself, and others. Keep following Speak to stay informed about how to communicate better.

How to Prepare for a Successful Interview

How to Prepare for a Successful Interview

With the school year wrapping up and Summer just around the corner, Summer job hunting is at an all time high. Interviews are an essential part of the employee selection process, and can leave either a positive or negative impression on a potential employer. Interviews may seem scary at first, but the key to success is being prepared and confident. Find out more about how to stay calm, cool, and collected during your upcoming interviews below!

 

Before the Interview

1. Ensure you look over your resume to re-familiarize yourself with any experience that could be brought up by the interviewer. Often times, an interviewer asks for a more in-depth explanation of relevant experience. Being prepared to be asked about your experience, and relate it to your new potential job is an admirable quality for employers. In light of this, also ensure that your resume is constantly being updated.

Hand writing on a page
2. Research the company beforehand. If possible, find out a little information on the employee that will be conducting the interview with you so that you can try to relate to him or her. An efficient means of researching companies and employees is the website LinkedIn. It is essential to know background information about your desired place of employment when walking into an interview so that you can readily identify why you are a good fit in comparison to other applicants for the company.

Person working

3. Film or record yourself answering the sample questions listed below. Being able to witness yourself answering questions from an outside perspective helps you to be aware of what the interviewer will see. This step can help you make important changes to your posture and response time, and can assist you by letting you practice forming your thoughts into complete sentences.

Girl taking a video on her smart phone

4. Be on time to the interview! A company will not hire someone who makes a bad first impression, and being late is one of the worst impressions you can make. Wasting the interviewer’s time is ill-advised because the interview will begin on a sour note. This could cause the horn effect to take place, during which the employer regards you as a bad person based on one poor action. To find out more about impressions, such as the horn effect, check out our blog post on perception. If something goes wrong and you are running late, make sure to send an email or message to let the interviewer know so that they are not waiting for you.

Job interview between two women

During the Interview

1. Be prepared for the “Tell Me About Yourself” question. This question is often dreaded, but in reality, represents a unique opportunity to let the interviewer know more about your most relevant assets. This question gives the interviewee the opportunity to steer the interview in whichever way he or she wants and permits focusing on the best qualities instead of qualities that may be lacking. The best way to do this is by telling a story about a past experience that relates your skills to the desired position.

Job interview between a man and woman

2. Maintain eye contact and monitor body language at all times. Ensure that your body communicates that you are engaged in the conversation, and happy to be considered for the position. If you are slouching or looking around the room during the interview, the interviewer will understand that you are uninterested and unavailable.

A handshake between two professionals

3. Ensure that you have questions prepared for the interviewer about the company. Questions about the position demonstrate your desire to learn, and your eagerness about the position. Showing interest can set you apart from other, less passionate interviewees.

Business casual dress attire

4. Dress appropriately, and according to a business casual dress code. As mentioned previously, first impressions are imperative to a successful interview. Even if you are interviewing for a casual job, business casual attire will show your interest in the job and avoid you looking unprepared.

Interview setting between two men

After the Interview

Ensure to send a follow up thank you email acknowledging the person’s time spent with you. This leaves the interview on a high note and demonstrates that you are still interested after the interview as well. A simple, “Thank you again for sitting down to chat with me today, I appreciate your time” will suffice.

Business handshake after an interview

Some Sample Questions:

Tell Me About Yourself?
How Did You Hear About This Position?
Why Do You Think You Are Qualified For This Position?
What Drew You To Our Company Specifically?
Why Do You Want This Job?
Tell Me About A Time When You Exercised Leadership/Teamwork/Responsibility In A Professional Setting?
What Is A Conflict You’ve Faced At Work, And How Did You Overcome It?
What Do You Consider Your Greatest Weakness?
How Would Your Ex-Boss And Coworkers Describe You?

10 Inspiring Female Speakers

10 Inspiring Female Speakers

Some of the most powerful and influential figures in the world today are women. We compiled a list of some of our favorite inspiring female speakers to Molly Fletcheracknowledge and appreciate their impressive accomplishments!

Oprah Winnfrey Speaking

Oprah Winfrey

A list of the top female speakers wouldn’t be complete without one of the greatest of all time! Oprah Winfrey is best known for her talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Oprah’s first show aired for 25 seasons over the course of 25 years. During it’s first year alone, the show was placed on 120 channels, grossed $125 million and reached an audience of 10 million people. Oprah went on to start her very own network “The Oprah Winfrey Network”. Aside from television, Winfrey is a philanthropist and a highly regarded motivational speaker. Forbes magazine has named her one of the 25 most influential women of 2018. Winfrey makes our list for her powerful, enthusiastic and inspiring speeches.

Felecia Hatcher Giving a Ted Talk Speech

Felecia Hatcher

Felecia Hatcher is a highly regarded author and public speaker. Hatcher was recognized at the White House in 2011 as one of the Empact Top 100 Enrepreneurs under 30, and honored as the 2014 White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity. Hatcher identifies herself as a student who struggled in high school, but found her passion for marketing in college where she started her first business during her first year. Hatcher makes our list because her personal experiences of triumph motivate her audiences.

Molly Fletcher Speaking

Molly Fletcher

Molly Fletcher is best known for her contributions to the world of sports. She was one of the world’s first female sports agents at a time when women were not welcome in the world of sports management. Despite the opinion of the times being against her, her talent and dedication helped her recruit and manage hundreds of big names in sports at the time. These individuals include Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA Tour golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball championship coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers. Molly now uses her knowledge of sports agency to motivate audiences to close deals and strengthen relationships. Molly makes our list because of her passionate and savvy business advice.

Iyanla Vanzant Speaking to an Audience

Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla Vanzant is an impressive life coach who built an empire out of very little resources. She effectively motivates audiences to love, forgive, and work hard to live their best lives. She is the star of her own reality show in which she helps sufferers to find peace and become content with their lives by learning the value of hard work. Iyanla makes our list because she sets leads by example, and focuses on helping others stay motivated to change their lives for the better.

The Honourable Rona Ambrose Speaking to an Audience

The Honourable Rona Ambrose

The Honourable Rona Ambrose is the former leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Her political achievements clearly prove the effectiveness of her impressive and dynamic leadership abilities. Ambrose advocates for women internationally and participated in the invention of “International Day of the Girl” at the United Nations. The Honourable Rona Ambrose makes our list because she is a demonstrated leader, and effective advocate.

Mel Robbins Speaking

Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins is an entrepreneur and motivational speaker. Her Ted Talk “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” has almost 18,000,000 views, and is regarded as one of the best ted talks of all time. Robbins offers her expertise on changes to human behavior and mindset to an international audience and effectively reaches 20 million people per month. Mel Robbins makes our list because she is able to transfer her impressive internal motivation to her audiences.

Arianna Huffington giving a spech

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder, and former editor-in-chief of one of the most famous news and opinion websites in America. The Huffington Post, labelled HuffPost since Arianna’s exit, took Arianna’s last name as the name of the news source in 2005 when it was founded. Since leaving the company, Huffington has started her own business that advocates for sleep initiatives. Huffington makes our list because of her innovative ideas and her dedication to the causes that she chooses to support.

Billie Jean King speaking to an audience

Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King is best known for her contributions to female, and LGBQT participation in sports. In 1973, she participated in a “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match and, against popular opinion, beat Bobby Riggs in a match that would go down in history. Since her days on the court, King has found her voice by advocating for LGBQT and women’s rights using her powerful platform. Billie Jean King makes our list because she is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the court.

Elizabeth Smart speaking to an audience

Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart was abducted by kidnappers on June 5 , 2002. She was held by her captors for 9 months, and thankfully was returned to her family on March 12, 2003. Smart used her trauma to create a platform to advocate for change related to child abduction such as better recovery programs and improved National legislation. She founded the ‘Elizabeth Smart Foundation’ and helps to promote National Amber Alerts, The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act to help prevent child abductions. Smart makes our list because her inspiring story proves that after tragedy, there is triumph.

Michelle Obama giving a speech

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is best known for her contributions as the first lady of the United States from 2008 to 2012. Obama is also a lawyer, writer, and public speaker. She advocates for rights such as the support of military families, organic food movements, and helping working women to balance careers and families. She is a genuine speaker who encapsulates audiences with her passion. Obama makes our list because she is one of the most influential women, and speakers of the generation.

We believe that these women have successfully mastered the art of communication and presentation. We hope you learned more about your favorite female speakers, and discovered someone new!

Find out more about Speak’s ability to better communication on our website.

A Guide to Better Conversations

A Guide to Better Conversations

Conversations are an essential component of every day life. The ability to make a lasting and meaningful impression on others during conversations can make or break your relationships with friends, colleagues, and others. To help you have better conversations, the experts at Speak have compiled a guide of the most effective ways to have a great conversation.

1. Lead with a question

The best way to start a conversation is by asking a question. This shows the other participant in the conversation that you are interested in what they have to say, and confident enough to ask. It is important to ensure that the question that you lead with is broad so that the other person can engage with it comfortably. It is also important to ask neutral questions that will not put others in an uncomfortable situation.

Questions to avoid include:

  • What did you think of the presidential address last week?
  • Did you ever get that promotion?
  • Are you and your significant other still together?

Work Friends Having Conversation

2. Start with small talk

Trust is earned, not given. For this reason, it’s better to start a conversation off with light small talk than it is to immediately delve into specifics. For this tip, remember the 3 tiers of conversation.

  • The first tier is comprised of safe territory. This includes the weather, popular culture, and any shared experiences.
  • The second tier is comprised of potentially controversial topics. These include religion, dating, and politics.
  • The third tier is comprised of the most intimate topics. These can include family, finances, and health.

Always ensure that you begin with tier one conversations, and gauge the situation and relationship before moving on to more personal topics.

Group of Friends Laughing Together

3. Look for obvious talking points before you approach a conversation

If you are introducing yourself to someone, consider obvious talking points that you could bring up before you approach. For example, is this person wearing merchandise from a specific band or sports team that you could ask them about?

Colleagues Having a Light Conversation

4.It’s about more than just words

Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal? This type of communication includes body language cues such as posture, hand gestures, eye contact and facial reactions. It also includes tone of voice, and pace of speech. All of these non-verbal cues communicate a lot about you to others. For example, typically those who speak slower are viewed as more confident.

A Group of Friends Conversing

5. Don’t hog the mic

Remember to keep the other participant engaged by consistently asking for their opinion and input on the topic of conversation. If you feel like you may be talking too much, ask your conversation partner how they feel about what you’ve just said.

Friends Laughing Together

6. Focus on listening, and remember key points

One of the biggest mistakes that people make during conversations with others is focusing too much on their response before the other person has a chance to finish their thought. Ensure that you are listening to your partner, and considering their full thought before you respond. Make sure to remember key points during the conversation that you can refer back to later to show others that you care about what they have to say.

Two Friends Having Conversation

7. Don’t be scared of silence

Silences are only awkward if you make them. Silence is actually a normal part of every conversation, and should be regarded in this way. Do not grasp for abstract topics to attempt to fill every silent moment, because they are a natural part of every exchange.

Brainstorming Session Between Colleagues

8. Try to relate

Relating to other people is the best way to form lasting relationships. As humans, we are naturally drawn to people who are similar to us. If you relate to something that your partner has said, make sure to tell them that you have had a similar experience or feel a similar way about a certain topic.

Two Friends Laughing

9. Be aware of social dynamics

Conversations will flow differently with various types of people. How you converse with someone depends on your relationship to them. For example, you will likely converse in different ways with your best friend than with your boss. Ensure that you are aware of the social dynamics that you are participating in, and adjust your behavior accordingly.

Colleagues Conversing with Superior

10. Fake it until you make it

The key to better communication is essentially to fake it ’till you make it. Even if you don’t feel 100% confident in a situation, always pretend that you are the most confident person in the room.

Camels Conversing

 

The best way to master the art conversation is by practicing often. We hope this guide has helped you think of new ways to initiate, and keep the conversation flowing.

Visit our homepage to contact us for more insights into how to better communicate with others.

 

Are Athletes Really Getting Faster, Better, Stronger? David Epstein Speech

Are Athletes Really Getting Faster, Better, Stronger? David Epstein Speech

David Epstein’s analysis of athletes over the last decade.

Here is the description of the talk from Ted.

When you look at sporting achievements over the last decades, it seems like humans have gotten faster, better and stronger in nearly every way. Yet as David Epstein points out in this delightfully counter-intuitive talk, we might want to lay off the self-congratulation. Many factors are at play in shattering athletic records, and the development of our natural talents is just one of them.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
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