I’m sure you’re hearing the term Emotional Intelligence. It’s being talked about a lot these days. For most people there’s an immediate “click”. We recognize it as the missing piece!

It’s like that cartoon of the girl saying, “Oh, I knew I forgot something. My career!” Well, in this case, we become aware that someone, somewhere along the line forgot to tell us how to be smart about our emotions. At least in words we could understand!

But then again are you or are you not “smart” about your emotions? You see we don’t even know how to assess how we are with our emotions. It simply hasn’t been talked about it ways that makes sense and would allow us to use the information we receive.

If someone says, “You’re too reactive,” what does that mean? In relation to what or to whom? And aren’t they usually talking more about themselves? Usually they mean “You’re more reactive than I am” or “You’re more reactive than I’d like you to be.” They may be the kind of person who could have a firecracker go off next to them and not “react,” but what does that mean in relation to their ability to function and relate? Not much!

And then the next day you’ll have a pounding headache, or have been up all night with the baby, and fail to respond immediately to a comment someone makes and they’ll say, “Why don’t you respond? You just sit there.”

One standard would certainly be how well things are going for you at work and at home, because our EQ is more important to our happiness, success and health than our IQ.


The people I’ve worked with in Emotional Intelligence take to it immediately. There are immediate applications to their life they try, and the results are positive, so there’s an excellent and immediate feedback loop that keeps you motivated and improving.

One of the best things about it is that you learn the tools, and then the applications are all around you. No matter what situation you’re in, or what circumstance, increasing your Emotional Intelligence skills will help. You’ll become more aware of what’s going on around you – the things you couldn’t quit “grasp” before. You’ll also become far more knowledgeable about what’s going on with other people, and isn’t that always the most difficult thing to figure out?


Here’s is an example. One of the Emotional Intelligence competencies is emotional expression. It’s important to understand that 90% or more of any person’s emotional expression takes place nonverbally. That means – ta da – you need to increase your skills in being able to notice and INTERPRET nonverbal behavior. This means the expression on the person’s face, how they sit, how they walk, their tone of voice, their silences, and other important “cues” as to how they’re feeling.

Why is this important? They may be telling you how they think, but how they feel is what’s going to influence what action they take, whether they buy the product, whether they hire you, or whether they marry you.


If you are charged with motivating others, you must be able to communicate well, and you must be able to read their nonverbal communication. Motivation is a feelings thing, not a thinking thing. If you can connect with what’s important to the person you’re dealing with, or connect everyone to an idea or mission they can feel strongly about, you will have your motivation.

At the same time, you need to be able to read the level of the “buy in” from the other person. They may say they’re going to do the project, call the person, raise the annual fund 100%, buy your product, or give you a promotion “some day,” but, since 90% of most communication is nonverbal …wouldn’t it be better if you have studied Emotional Intelligence?


Our work is important to us, but our home is where we live. If your relationships at home aren’t going well, nothing at work will matter. And the sad thing is, most of the time if you aren’t get along at one place, you aren’t at the other. Why? Because we don’t leave “ourselves” behind when we leave for work in the morning.

This is not to say the applications are the same – because an intimate relationship is different from a work relationship, but only in some areas. Increasing your intimacy and parenting skills is part of emotional intelligence. Couples who communicate better have better marriages, and one of the best things you can give your children is knowledge of Emotional Intelligence and good modeling of emotionally intelligent behavior.


Walk in any office today, or any family gathering, and you are going to have people from different cultures, yes? This means you can no longer predict how people are going to behave. In one culture, you show up on the hour. In another culture, you show up 15 minutes late. In still another, it’s an hour late. These cultural differences affect our daily lives more all the time, and strong Emotional Intelligence skills are required in order to manage them.


As more people learn about Emotional Intelligence, it’s going to be important that you stay in the loop. Get in early. It’s the emotionally intelligent thing to do!


One of the most important things to understand about Emotional Intelligence is that, unlike some other life skills, it can’t be learned ONLY be reading. There are Internet courses you can take, and books and ebooks you can read, but you need to work with someone such as a certified Emotional Intelligence coach who can guide the learning process.

It’s difficult to change something you can’t see clearly – and we don’t see ourselves as others see us!

Yes, time usually brings improvements in the area of Emotional Intelligence, but you can greatly accelerate the learning curve, with great benefits to your life.


Taking an EQ assessment is a logical starting point - http://tinyurl.com/z94t . Don’t be surprised to see that you’re better at some competencies than others. The ones you are lower in can be raised, because EQ can be learned!

Author's Bio: 

©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . I offer coaching, distance learning, and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your continued personal and professional development. Transition, career and relationship coaching. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE ezine.