Emotional Intelligence is a pretty new facet of psychology and whenever anything new comes along, so many people are waiting there with their metaphorical guns cocked, ready to shoot it down.
In this case, the idea seems to be accepted all right, but with many different variations from different people. So what is Emotional Intelligence?
Well, the short answer is; “To perceive, control and evaluate emotions.” That’s the short description! There are much longer ones which would confuse all of us. But let’s give a couple of examples.
Two ladies, Sally and Freda, are to give presentations to some important clients. They have two weeks to prepare which they both consider time enough. Naturally, both are nervous, but Sally finds that every time she thinks about this presentation, she becomes more nervous still.
Unfortunately, she takes this as a sign that she’s going to do a bad job of it. So straight away, her imagination has made up her mind for her. She knows it’s going to be a shambles. She sets to and tries to prepare, but all the time she’s working away, she feels this awful anxiety taking over.
This affects her sleeping and eating habits, and she finds she can’t concentrate on anything. Try as she might, the closer the time comes, the more her mind turns to mush.
Finally, the day arrives, and while she’s managed to come up with a presentation, she really isn’t very happy with it. She starts speaking, but is visibly nervous. She finds she has to refer to her notes too often and then the worst happens. She discovers her notes are out of order.
For the rest of the time she wings it. She tries a couple of jokes, which don’t even raise a smile. By the end of the presentation, she’s a wreck.
Let’s see how Freda’s doing. Well, she’s nervous too, but finds there’s a tinge of excitement about the whole thing. She understands that her nervousness is natural and in any case, she needs some adrenaline to be at her best. To begin with, she reads up on her subject thoroughly before even starting to prepare.
Now having the subject firmly in her mind, she sets down and prepares. The closer she comes to the time, she feels a certain nervousness, but realizes that it’s the adrenaline. She thinks up some pretty good jokes, then rehearses. By the time the big day arrives, she feels nervous for the first couple of minutes and then hits her stride.
Her first couple of jokes bring smiles, and a couple more, outright laughter. Buoyed by this, she finishes her talk on a wave of success. Freda also used self-hypnosis techniques to both relax her and build her confidence. In this way, she’s able to gear her unconscious mind to success.
There are some who say that Emotional Intelligence skills can’t be learned; that you’re born with them or not. They’re wrong. These skills can be learned, as I’m sure is fairly obvious in the foregoing examples.