emotional intelligence

Want to improve your public speaking? Improve your Emotional Intelligence

There was a time when scientists were way too focused on determining a numeric value to define our intelligence. With time, they realized that intelligence means a great number of different things, including our most emotional side.

A high IQ doesn’t mean much if you can’t deal with your emotions. They are an essential point for the balance in our lives and influence every single aspect of it.

Public Speaking is About Relationships, not dazzling with your abilities

When you’re giving a speech, many people focus on its technicalities. Sure, you must know your topic, rehearse, and make sure you’re ready to be at your best. Yet, your best may not be what you would think.

You’re not at your best by knowing everything there is to know about your topic or answering all audience questions perfectly. You’re at your best if you are available, confident, and in charge of your emotions. Then you will appear to know everything even when you fumble slightly…

Improving your Emotional Intelligence

Do you know that cliche, used in many movies and shows, of the highly intelligent person who can’t connect or develop good relationships? Yes, it is very interesting for comedy purposes, or perhaps a romantic comedy where love overcomes all problems. In real life, it isn’t funny at all, and you definitely don’t want to be that person.

Being emotionally intelligent can be the difference between success and failure. It is also the way to feel fulfilled with your job and life in general. So, it is time to focus on improving your emotional intelligence.

1. What are you feeling?

Recognizing your feelings and how you react to them is the first step to improving your emotional intelligence. It’s time to look inside and understand your emotions. Giving them a label is a practical way to help you control them. It gives meaning and understanding to a powerful thing.

Before you start your presentation, take some time to think. Are you nervous? Are you terrified? Why? What’s the point that scares you so much? Is it possible that what you’re feeling is simply the adrenaline?

Having a clear notion of what upsets you and how you react to it will help you to change what needs to be changed to be more assertive. The more you try to hold your emotions, the more out of control they become. So stop and think: why are you feeling this way?

2. What do others think you’re feeling?

This point may seem controversial. After all, most of the time, people will tell you not to worry about what others think of you. Yet, it is crucial to figure out how you come across, emotionally speaking.

What you perceive is usually different from what others perceive. You should be aware of it and then take your conclusions. Are your reactions as adjusted as you thought they were? Why do others feel differently? For example, do you look nervous for them? Do they notice how scared you are? Sometimes, we can feel really nervous inside and still come across as if everything is “under control”. Knowing that others don’t notice your fear can help you relax.

This is another step to understanding yourself and how you can come across better, not to lead you to act as others would hope for.

3. Pause

Being emotionally intelligent includes not saying everything that comes into your mind the second it comes into your mind. Especially in a professional environment, you should stop and think for a minute. Then, whatever you decide to say, you will be more assertive and responsible.

This can be hard, especially if you’re an impulsive person. Yet, as with anything else, it can be trained. You’ll notice the improvement in your life and relationships. Notice that this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak up for yourself or others, but you must do it in the right way.

This is especially important when you’re facing some criticism. Who likes to be criticized? No one. But instead of getting defensive, try to understand why that person is criticizing you. Actually listen to them. Whether it is fair or not, you can learn a great deal about yourself and the other person, and it is a great way to improve your emotional intelligence.

4. Express yourself without attacking

When someone says something unpleasant, you may want to be rude, yell, and offend that person. That’s normal; you’re hurt and want to hurt them. However, this is not a smart move.

Avoid reacting immediately and think about why the situation is triggering you. It is often not the person but something you associate with what (or how) they said. Once you understand, you’ll calm down, and then, assertively, you can stand up for yourself.

5. Find your safe harbor

You can’t suppress all those feelings inside, but you can’t open up with everyone everywhere.

Finding the people you can trust and having a safe spot with friends with whom you can talk and vent if needed is essential.

6. Reframe

There are some experiments in which they try to pick a negative feeling and reframe it as positive, and the results are interesting. It is possible to take your frustration and turn it into motivation to try again. It depends on you.

This is something to do after a good pause… look at the situation and try to see it differently – reframing. For example, your coworker was rude to you today. Instead of assuming that they hate you or you did something wrong, assume they had a bad day. In fact, this is more likely to be the truth, and more importantly, your answer will be different because you’ll feel more empathy. This will make the situation better, which would not happen if you decided to answer in the same rude way and things escalated into a huge argument.

Sometimes, this is the difference between having a good, satisfying day and a terrible, exhausting one.

Emotions are a puzzle to solve intelligently

Our emotions deeply impact all aspects of our lives, and they are responsible for the success of our social interactions.

We need other people to connect to establish a relationship, whether talking to 2 people or a thousand. The way we react or behave has a profound impact on every relationship of any kind.

More than ever, dealing in a healthy way with your emotions is a sign of intelligence, and, believe me, emotional intelligence can change your life.

Cátia is a psychologist who is passionate about helping children develop and train social skills.