Throughout our posts, we’ve covered a number of ways that you can create a better personal connection with your customers and employees. But, one way we haven’t touched on is emotional intelligence. Simply put, emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize and regulate your own emotions while also empathizing with others and maintaining an awareness of their reactions. Consequently, EQ enables you to manage your relationships more effectively, even when a conflict arises.

From a relationships perspective, EQ is key to developing deeper connections with friends, colleagues, or significant others. Additionally, higher EQ is associated with better work performance and an increased ability to manage stress.

EQ doesn’t come naturally; it needs to be developed with practice. Here are some tips on how to boost your EQ in order to strengthen the personal connection of your relationships.

Know yourself

In order to increase your EQ, you need a foundation to work from. In this case, it’s self-awareness, having a deep understanding of yourself. By doing so, you have a more accurate perception of how you come across to others. To increase your self-awareness, take some time to reflect on your strengths, opportunities, triggers, values and more.

Be open to constructive criticism

Criticism is something we all hate to hear, but is crucial to developing strong EQ. Emotionally intelligent people are receptive to hearing and considering others’ feedback. While you may not agree, hearing this feedback can help you guard against blind spots and recognize if you behaviors are as you intended them to be.

Identify your feelings

Take some time throughout the day to check in with yourself to see how you’re are feeling, especially if you are experiencing strong emotions. Make mental notes of trigger points and add them to your emotional vocabulary. Regularly doing this will help you engage with the parts of your brain associated with problem solving. By doing this, you can make better sense of your emotions and use them to make choices about interacting with others.

Practice mindfulness

When we think of mindfulness, we often think about meditations. While it is a form of mindfulness, there are many other forms where you can practice it. When you find what works for you, you will be able to learn how yo observe your thoughts and feeling without judgement and increase awareness of them. At the end of the day, mindfulness decreases the odds of you being caught off guard by negative emotions.

Take a deep breath

Most of the time, we experience emotions physically; so when we are emotionally stressed, out bodies react as if we are responding to a treat. This is reflected by shallow breathing and a rapid heart rate. However, if you can calm your body’s reaction to stress, the emotional component is mitigated. When you feel tense, breath slowly and deeply. After a few minutes of this, you will find yourself in a better state than before.

Question your stories

When we are emotional, we tend to exaggerate our stories, leading them to sound more dramatic than necessary. There are many ways to look at any given situation. So instead of jumping to conclusions, take a step back and see if there is another way to explain the situation. Even if you don’t change your opinion on what happened, at least you have calmed down to opt for a more constructive response.

Celebrate positive emotions

When you experience more positive emotions, you tend to have better relationships and are more resilient in response to negative events. There are many ways to do this, including practicing gratitude, engaging in acts of kindness, exercising, and reminiscing on positive experiences.

Empathize

People skilled in EQ are great at putting themselves in others’ shoes. Consider situations from other perspectives to better understand those around you. This insight will enable you to personally connect with them more effectively while learning more about yourself.

Make active listening a priority

When dealing with others, especially in times of a conflict, you need to make sure you are listening to what others are saying, not just hearing them. So, during a conflict make sure to make active listening your first priority. Tackle issues head-on in an assertive, respectful manner without being defensive. Listening empathetically to the other person will give you space to take your own thoughts and feelings into account. As a result, you will drain tense situations of unnecessary toxicity.

EQ is an important skill to master in order to achieve better personal connection in your relationships. With some practice, you can become an EQ expert in no time and apply the skills you learn to relationships of your own.

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