Have you ever met someone who has you hanging onto every word they say, even if they’re not talking about anything particularly important? We’ve all been there before. We have a brief conversation with him/her, and then walk away thinking wow, I liked that guy. A lot of times, it’s hard to put your finger on why exactly you feel that way, but you just do.
Some people have a high IQ, others have a high EQ, or emotional intelligence. It’s hard to say which is more important in life, but I would argue that EQ beats out IQ in most business-related settings. So how do you know if someone has a high degree of emotional intelligence? A person with a high EQ knows what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. A person with a low EQ probably has you face-palming and wondering to yourself, can this guy take a hint? Jeez.
All awkwardness aside, there are a few things you can do to convey a higher EQ, effectively helping you to become more well-liked and more influential, even if you’re not innately the Einstein of emotional intelligence. This week’s blog will be about how to build trust, and influence thinking in your day-to-day interactions with people.
#1: Seek to understand before asking to be understood
In any relationship, in any interaction, in life, you must always listen before jumping into what you want to say. It communicates volumes, mostly that I respect you. My dad always told me that we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason- because we should be doing twice as much listening as we do talking. When interacting with someone who you are trying to build trust with, you should start out with a question. This makes a person feel as though they are being heard and understood, and they’re more likely to afford you with the same attention when the time comes for you to speak.
#2: Call the person by his/her name.
It may sound odd, but people like to hear their own name. Saying, “I understand why you feel that way,” is perceived differently than, “Bob, I understand why you feel that way.” Incorporating someone’s name into the natural flow of the conversation not only increases the engagement, but it also lets the person know that you are recognizing them as an individual. In some cases, it’s good to call someone a title that ranks above your current relationship level. So, instead of addressing your manager as “sir,” maybe up the ante to “boss.” The psychology behind it basically says that you’re kind of fluffing the person’s ego. I’d say to use caution with that though- if it doesn’t sound natural, it can do more harm than good.
#3: Start out by asking for a favor.
Perhaps this is counter-intuitive, but starting out a relationship by asking for a favor and then being very grateful afterwards statistically builds trust. It turns a stranger into someone who might need you- and everybody loves to be a hero. Beyond that, it opens up the conversation in a less threatening way by putting him/her in a position of power, rather than feeling bombarded by a stranger.
When first meeting someone, there are natural barriers that everyone has. Personally, I hate being touched by random people. However, if someone shakes my hand while patting me on the shoulder, I can’t help but feel a little warmth towards that person. It’s almost like a nonthreatening hug. Statistics continually prove that touch leaves a better impression than an arms-length conversation.
#5: Display body language that conveys confidence and dominance
The actual words that you use in a conversation attribute to a mere 7% of communication. Crazy, right? What about the other 93%? Well, 38% comes from your tone of voice and the words that you emphasize. But 55% of your communication comes from your body language. When you’re trying to build trust with someone, you need to be aware of your body language. Bowing your head conveys an air of submissiveness, while tilting your head up a bit displays confidence and interest. When you’re asking a question that you’re hoping to receive a “yes” in response to, nod your head while you ask the question, as it creates warmth and engagement. Mirroring somebody’s body language builds more rapport than anything, as it signals that both of you are on the same page and relieves tension. Overall, try to make yourself seem bigger. Tall people rise higher in business ranks, and there's a reason for that. Doing things like widening your stance, using dramatic hand gestures, and leaning into the conversation shows dominance and confidence. If you think about almost any animal, and I’ll use dogs as an example, the dominant dog will make itself appear larger in its stance, and raise the hair on their backs, while a submissive dog will cower and hunch over, trying to look as small as possible. In order to be trustworthy, you cannot seem submissive and uneasy, so go big or go home.
EQ is a measure of how well you communicate, and how well you relate to others/take social cues. Using these suggestions in a sales capacity will allow you to form more genuine relationships with your customers, making your interactions less of a sales call and more of a talk with an old friend. In life, these suggestions will help you consciously think about the way you communicate with people and ultimately raise your EQ.