Thursday, January 8, 2015


I've been hearing a lot of GMAT and business school chatter and know with a certain conviction that I wouldn't score in the upper quartile of any quantitative testing...

But there's more to a happy life than high test scores.  I'll take my emotional intelligence any day, thank you - although, I wouldn't get a perfect score on that test, either.

They say that those who most need to work on developing their emotional intelligence (and this is learnable, people) are the very ones who don't realize it!  Their empathy and self-awareness scores are low.  A little study and a bit of instruction can kickstart your mark - and life's experiences can help, too, if you are paying attention at all.

Rethink your style if you notice anything familiar here:

     What you say:  "You don't have a clue!"
     What the listener hears:  "You're not smart enough to understand!"

     What you say:  "I don't know why you are making this a big deal!"
     What the listener hears:  "I don't care how you feel!"

You might decide, if you want to work on your EI (great NY Resolution, I'd say), to grab a hot drink and sit in quiet reflection, analyzing a recent interaction that went a bit sideways:  What did you intend to say?  What was the impact your words left on others?  How do you think your words (now that you are replaying this tape) made them feel?  And before you see those people again, think about the impression you want to make and the objective you want to reach next time. How do you want to be regarded afterwards?

My biggest challenge is remembering to press PAUSE in the middle of a frustrating discussion.  I'm not suggesting I should slip off the chair and fall under the table twirling my gnarly hair, although that can be tempting, it's just important to help others feel like you've understood them, and you can't do that if you are jumping in, lashing out, interrupting. 

I also need to remember to wear BOTH shoes...not just putting myself in the other's situation but also not dismissing my stuff in my sick pursuit of likeability.

Using these tools, I'm hoping for a better score, today, next week, next time.  I'm hoping with more practice, I can approach prickly topics with a chill confidence that allows everyone to feel like they win.  Smart, huh?

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