Smart Ways to Make the Most of Who We Are
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us have an image in our heads of who we are. Making the most of that image can be tricky. Staying in touch with an awareness of ourselves and successfully reaching out to others relies on IQ and EQ, emotional intelligence. What we do may help us soar or stumble as we learn what works.
Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, an agency that serves 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, tells us IQ may only account for about 20 percent of our success, while 80 percent comes down to EQ, emotional intelligence. Bradberry says 90 percent of the workplace leaders have high EQs, and make $28,000 more than those with low EQ.
Emotional intelligence revolves around self-awareness, which means knowing how others see you, and shaping your behavior to fit each situation. Here are some tips to help.
Have a little faith – Know who you are and believe in yourself. That confidence will come shining through when you meet new people as you reach out to find out who they are, and what they are seeking. They will hear it in your voice and see it in your smile.
Match the pace around you – Researchers say we relate the most to people who do things at about the same speed as we do. When you join groups, try to match their pace to make everyone feel more comfortable.
Write clearly – When you communicate, choose your words to connect, not dazzle. As Bradberry says, “True intelligence speaks for itself.” Just focus on getting your message across with the most natural approach.
Learn how to hold your audience – When you are talking to a group, or a single individual, use your energy, tone, speed, and volume to keep their attention. Study successful speakers to see how they do it. Using a monotone, not speaking loudly enough, or too loudly, can undermine your message. Keep practicing to learn what works.
Maintain eye contact – When a speaker looks over your head, or off into the distance, you may rapidly lose interest. When you are speaking, look directly at your audience and watch their expressions to build your connection with them.
Work on reading people – I have a friend who is a master at this. He says people use “character lines” that tell you who they really are, and what they are thinking. As you meet a variety of people in your work, you will probably develop your own techniques to figure out who they really are. The more you develop this skill, the easier it will be to communicate with them and enlist their help.
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