Have you ever had a meeting with someone and afterwards you felt that it could have gone better? Something was missing in the discussion. Either we didn’t “get” them, or they didn’t “get” us.
All good relationships are built on trust and communication[i], especially with clients. When things get bumpy, understandably, we can feel a little anxious. The good news is, there are easy steps that we can take to improve our ability to connect with current or prospective clients in a meaningful, positive way.
Research links EQ to better work performance and a greater ability to manage stress [ii]. It also enhances relationships at work and sharpens strategic focus [iii].
Reading your own and others’ emotions is a specific EQ competency known as Emotional Literacy. And it can make all the difference in being able to develop and maintain productive client relationships.
What is Emotional Literacy? Simply put, it’s our ability to accurately identify and understand emotions -- both ours and those of others we interact with.[iv]
How do you know if your Emotional Literacy skills need work? EQ assessments are one way to learn about your EQ strengths and areas that you can improve. You can also conduct a self-assessment. Are you finding that there are a growing number of times when you’re not connecting with clients? Are you experiencing an increased incidence of conflict with clients?
Think back to the last time you and a client didn’t connect for some reason. Did it feel like…
- You were overwhelmed or maybe blowing the situation out of proportion?
- You might prefer analyzing the situation?
- You tend to dismiss emotions that come up as irrelevant or that acknowledging them might be a sign of weakness?[v]
These may be signs you could benefit from enhancing your Emotional Literacy skills.
What do strong Emotional Literacy skills look like?
- You have a robust emotional vocabulary, and you’re comfortable using it in positive ways[vi]
- You’re able to use your vocabulary to create a sense of mastery and insight, in describing your own emotions and those of clients[vii]
- When you’re in touch with and able to “read” the emotional data you’re providing — and that others are providing — you gain insights into what drives your own behavior and that of others.
Growing your Emotional Literacy. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind if you’d like to develop your Emotional Literacy skills:
- Try to practice mindfulness. Meditation is a wonderful way to begin observing what’s going on with our bodies, and what’s happening around us. It also has many health benefits.
- Make a note throughout the day when you find yourself experiencing strong feelings. If something happens that really prompts those strong emotions, make a note of it. It also helps a great deal to write it down and journal for a few minutes about what you’re feeling and perhaps why. It’ll help you with creating your emotional vocabulary, and by taking a step back from the situation, you can engage that part of your brain that works on problem-solving, Dr. Patricia Thompson notes. “That way, you can make better sense of your emotions and use them to your advantage when making choices about how to interact with others.”[viii]
Interested in learning more about Emotional Intelligence and how it can make your business more successful? Subscribe to the True North eZine published by Waterford, Inc., for brief articles like this one with resources and tips about EQ for business success.
[i] “12 great tips for effective client relationship management,” by Daniel Marcus, April 21, 2016,
[ii] “9 Tips To Increase Your Emotional Intelligence For Stronger Relationships,” by Dr. Patricia Thompson, February 23, 2015, http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17573/9-tips-to-increase-your-emotional-intelligence-for-stronger-relationships.html
[iii] “The Business Case for EQ,” Six Seconds, http://www.6seconds.org/case/business-case-ebook/
[iv] Six Seconds, 8 Competencies Posters.
[v] Six Seconds, 8 Competencies Posters.
[vi] Six Seconds, 8 Competencies Posters.
[vii] Six Seconds, 8 Competencies Posters.
[viii] “9 Tips To Increase Your Emotional Intelligence For Stronger Relationships,” by Dr. Patricia Thompson, February 23, 2015, http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17573/9-tips-to-increase-your-emotional-intelligence-for-stronger-relationships.html