Successful content is never just about what’s on the page. So-called soft skills are often sidelined in favour of hard stats, but they can be the key to a brand that connects with people, a client relationship that grows stronger, or a team that has the creativity to thrive.
Senior Account Manager at seventy7, Lauren Connell knows more than most how relationships can drive great ideas. Her focus on interpersonal relationship-building sees her delve into emotional intelligence, talking about how you can improve yours and reap the benefits in the workplace.
Emotional intelligence is a really important soft skill that can be used both in work and in your personal life. The key to developing your emotional intelligence is to understand your emotions. What triggers them, what suppresses them and what they actually are (the chemical reactions in your brain!). Having a good sense of emotional intelligence helps with relationship building, self-development and ultimately self-satisfaction inside and outside of work.
What are emotions?
Emotions are chemical responses to an opportunity or threat within your personal environment. A trigger will set off an emotional response such as joy, anger or embarrassment. A part of your brain called the amygdala regulates our emotions and triggers a reactive response.
Feelings are an effect of our emotions, and our feelings have a significant impact on our mood. In order to develop emotional intelligence, you must understand the emotions that you are really feeling and therefore how you can deal with them. This ultimately helps us to regulate our feelings and improve our general mood.
How can you develop your emotional intelligence?
There are lots of ways that you can improve and develop your emotional intelligence. Here are some top tips:
When you are met with a negative emotional trigger, try taking a pause for six seconds. This will not only help you to understand what emotion you are feeling, but also delays the reaction sent from the amygdala, meaning you will have a more rational response.
As you understand what emotion you are feeling, ask yourself ‘how can I ensure a positive outcome to this situation’. More often than not, the answer is to remain calm and look for a solution. That might mean it’s best to pick up separately with that person or aim to develop your personal relationship with one another so that you have a better relationship inside of work. Outside of work, this may be simple self-awareness exercises such as taking a few moments to reflect before responding.
We should always try to understand other opinions and points of view within a situation, especially one that is triggering a negative emotional response. The key to this is the simple ‘two ears, one mouth’ phrase. Listen before responding, and look at the flip-side of your own opinion before responding. Aim to look at things from other people’s point of view - what emotions they may be feeling and whether they are regulating those emotions effectively. Once we understand our own emotions and those of the other person/people, we will be far better equipped to find solutions to any problems.
Emotional regulation & reflection
It’s always great to reflect on your progress. Continue to look back on how you handled different situations and note down the positive and negative outcomes. This will help you to develop your understanding of your reactions and make you more aware in the future.
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