High emotional intelligence is the key to success. It benefits both our professional and personal lives, helping us to manage stressful situations, and to handle pressure more effectively.
As a speaker, you should always try to develop your emotional intelligence. It improves your social skills and helps you to communicate more effectively. Emotional intelligence makes you more open to receive feedback (positive or negative) improving relationships. It also helps you to gain the trust of those in front of you, and develop your empathy.
Emotional intelligence plays a significant role in making you able to influence and inspire people around you. Therefore, it is responsible for significant quality improvement of your speeches and presentations.
1. You are authentic
Certainly, you already heard how authenticity is valuable to the speaker’s connection with the audience. Most speakers fear to reveal too much, to expose themselves, compromising their authenticity.
Being able to open up, without sharing more than you’d feel comfortable with, is a sign of emotional intelligence. To be authentic doesn’t mean to share everything about you, but to stick to your values and principles.
2. You can control your thoughts
Anxiety is the most common emotion before giving a presentation. However, when you’re anxious, your thoughts can go out of control. Emotions can assume total domination over your mind, and consequently, your behavior.
To be able to take a deep breath and control your thoughts avoids that you become a slave of your emotions. This way, you’ll be able to evaluate the situations more accurately and act accordingly.
3. You pause
Pausing is one of the most critical abilities in public speaking. It can sound contradictory, but being able to stop talking when you’re giving a speech is what can make it more exciting and enjoyable.
An emotional intelligent speaker is not afraid of pausing. They know that this gives the audience time to think, to react and absorb the information. They know how important it is to stop and feel the room before continuing the speech or making any decision.
4. You improve with criticism
You face criticism and negative feedback as a chance to learn and improve your skills. No one likes to feel criticized, but an emotionally intelligent person is able to stop and ask themselves:
- Is this correct?
- How can this comment make me evolve?
Even when you feel it’s unfounded, you learn about how that person or group of people think. That’s a great advantage to understand and reach your audience.
5. You are empathetic
Empathy is the ability to put yourself on other people’s shoes. It’s vital to establish a connection between human beings. Emotionally intelligent speakers are aware of the audience’s reactions. They understand and relate to them, adapting the presentation to their needs.
Instead of judging or labeling the audience, an empathic speaker will try to understand what’s essential for them. The speech will be delivered according to that.
6. You are humble
Humility often means weakness or lack of self-esteem in modern western society. An emotionally intelligent person knows that this is not true.
Being humble doesn’t mean that you don’t stand up for your opinions or principles. It means instead that you recognize that you don’t know everything and are willing to learn from others.
7. You tell stories
Stories are an excellent way to teach since humanity developed communication skills. Everybody loves a good story, and emotionally intelligent speakers use this information in their favor.
Narratives bring numbers and facts to life and help to connect with others through emotions.
8. You are curious about your audience
Being emotionally intelligent makes you more open to the world and the people around you. The curiosity overcomes your fear of being negatively judged. You want to know who those people are, what they think about the subject, and what ideas they may have.
Your empathic character makes you able to reach different people, from different backgrounds and cultures. You learn from them instead of merely dumping information on them.
9. You adapt
You are conscious of the need to adapt and change to reach success. Your empathy and capacity to read other people gives you a pretty good idea of who your audience is and the best way to reach them. This allows you to be more flexible and be continually adapting your presentation to the audience’s needs.
Unforeseen is not terrifying or paralyzing; your mind-set is already open to deal with it.
10. You don’t overthink
Do you know that person that seems to have two new problems for every solution? Well, overthinking is the basis of many of our fears. An emotionally intelligent person knows when it’s time to stop. Seek solutions, and don’t try to predict every small detail that can go wrong.
Prepare the best as you can and keep the analysis for after the presentation. Detect mistakes and things you can improve and work on them, without making them the center of everything. By being emotionally intelligent, you know how to let go of them. Learn from your errors, don’t forget them, but keep them at a safe distance that allows you to pursue future success.
11. You don’t seek perfection
Setting perfection as a goal is one big step towards feeling a constant failure. No matter how good you are at something, there is always room for improvement.
Instead of focusing on reaching perfection, an emotionally intelligent speaker focuses on giving a better speech than the previous one, trying to improve in each step you take.
Emotional Intelligence in Public Speaking
Emotional intelligence is vital for personal and professional success in many areas. 90% of top speakers have a high emotional quotient (EQ).
When you are giving a speech or presentation, you are exposing yourself. In front of you, there is a group of people with different behaviors and feelings. Knowing how to deal with emotions is crucial in those moments.
Being an emotionally intelligent speaker gives you self-awareness. It helps you to know your strengths and weaknesses, and use them in your favor.
EI allows you to regulate and control your emotions, to avoid being overwhelmed by anxiety and fear. Your social skills and empathy play a significant role in reading your audience and establishing a connection with them.
Emotional intelligence can be trained like other abilities. Start by understanding your fears and be more open to the people around you.