Individuals Who Undertake These 5 Verbal Habits in 2021 Have Very Excessive Emotional Intelligence
I have spoken to many readers about self improvement in 2021. By far the most important thing they want to work on is improving emotional intelligence.
So here are simple verbal habits that are specifically designed for that. They are adapted from my free eBook, Improving Emotional Intelligence 2021. (You can download the preview edition here.)
Changes are really simple, just a matter of memorizing phrases. Let’s start.
1. “Tell me more.”
This is one of the most powerful phrases in the universe and my favorite phrase for improving emotional intelligence. It’s almost all purpose too. You can say “tell me more” in almost any situation and you will do things like:
- In a conversation, reassure the other person that you are interested and are listening.
- Avoid the temptation to focus a conversation from the other person on yourself.
- Prepare for silence, which, as we’ll see below, is a powerful tool that emotionally intelligent people use.
Imagine every conversation you’ve had – especially when it got awkward or unsatisfactory. Imagine replacing whatever you answered with that three word phrase.
For example, imagine a friend tells you, “It’s hard to focus on work because I’m stuck at home with the kids who go to ‘virtual’ school. ‘At the computer all day” “
Most of us are trained to try a situation where we want to say, “It’s hard in our house too,” or “Can’t you just let your kids work downstairs while you work upstairs?”
But neither is really satisfactory. Instead, try answering our three-word “Tell me more” spell and you will reach a deeper level of conversation.
You give the emotionally intelligent answer and invite your friend or colleague to share, explore and maybe even come up with a solution.
2. “Thank you for your understanding.”
We’ll use this phrase as a substitute for something else: “Sorry.”
Not that you should never apologize. Of course, if you have wronged someone and want to get it right, you can. But many of us use this word too often when we don’t really want to offer an apology.
- “Sorry, I missed the meeting.”
- “Sorry, we can’t meet your deadline.”
- “Sorry, I didn’t go to your party.”
So much about emotional intelligence means shifting the focus of interactions from yourself to others. But the pseudo-excuses in these situations focus entirely on you.
You were also likely taught as a child to try and never do it again when you say you are sorry. But I bet you will likely miss more meetings in the future, right? There will be deadlines that you will not meet. They’ll skip parties every now and then.
Instead, think about how the message changes when you put each of these examples like this:
- “My boss needed my help at the last minute so I missed the meeting. Thanks for understanding.”
- “We have so many commitments right now and deliveries are delayed. I don’t think we can meet your deadline. Thank you for your understanding.”
- “I wanted to go to your party, but when I got home it was so late – I realized I could only come for 10 minutes. Thanks for understanding.”
It’s subtle, but this phrase combines gratitude, sympathy, and other emphases in one package. It’s very powerful.
Wait, you could say. “Hi?” Doesn’t everyone say hello?
Not really. Pay attention to the way people start conversations, and you will find that more people start with open-ended questions – questions that everyone knows they don’t want to know.
I am talking about things like:
- How are you?
- What’s happening?
- How are you?
It’s the rare person who wants a truthful answer: “Well, I have a headache and the indicator light in my car is on, but my daughter got good news about her college applications the other day, and I …”
Uh-huh. I mean if you are really a friend, or really interested, great, you might want to know.
But the vast majority of the time we ask these conversation starters to expect red answers – phrases that are pronounced so quickly and automatically that the phrases become contracted words:
- “Aw, nothing.”
- “Not that bad.”
At the very least, even if you care about the person’s answer, everyone knows that your goal is to go beyond the answer and get to the point of your conversation: “I’m sorry to hear about your headache, but I need your help to. .. “
I know that sounds incredibly semantic, maybe even hair-splitting. But opening up with an explanation instead – basically anything that doesn’t involve a dishonest question that you don’t really want the answer to – is an improvement.
- “Good to see you.”
- “Thanks for stopping by.”
Do you understand what I mean? These are neutral / positive messages – neither particularly different-centered nor self-centered. Try them out and I think you will see improvement.
4. “Do I make sense?”
This is another very powerful phrase, and you will use it in place of two others: either “Do you understand?” or else “do you have any questions?”
I realized its power after investigating the phenomenon of “high rise terminal” or “uptalk”. This is the phenomenon that causes people to speak declarative sentences with a rising pitch that is more often used to ask a question.
Some people say it is a bad habit or indicates a lack of confidence.
However, I have found it to be a very powerful, emotionally intelligent mechanism that people can use to make suggestions, adjust to their audience, and involve other people in a conversation – even when they have less power than everyone else .
Let me put it another way. Imagine I have to explain something complicated to you. In the end, I can ask three different things. What subtle message does each formulation contain?
First, “Do you have any questions?”
The standard answer to this question is, “No, I have no questions.” It therefore takes a bit of courage to be the first to ask. Why would you want to clear this hurdle for the other people in a conversation?
Second, “Do you understand?”
It’s centered differently, of course, but it can put people on the defensive. The subtle message contained in this is that you have explained perfectly; We may need to work on the other person’s understanding of healing. You can do better than that.
Finally, “Do I make sense?” or some other similar question.
This is powerful in his humility. Here we are shifting the assumption that if communication is disrupted, your fault (you made no sense) may be as opposed to the other person’s (they just didn’t get it).
This makes it much easier for the other person to answer truthfully and completely.
You may need to overcome a bit of vanity – “I know I make sense; I’ve explained this to hundreds of people.” But it’s not about inflating your ego.
Instead, an emotionally intelligent strategy is used to make communication easier – and increase the likelihood of getting what you want and need.
5. Absolutely nothing.
You know the old adage, “Don’t just stand there. Do something!”
People with high emotional intelligence prefer the opposite: “Don’t just do something. Stand there!”
Or the consequence: “Just don’t say anything. Keep calm!”
Saying nothing means you’re not saying anything stupid. It means giving yourself time to think before answering.
It also means that people who naturally tend to fill silence invite others to say something – maybe something they haven’t thought through as well as you have.
This is a good time to point out a misunderstanding about improving emotional intelligence. Since this can lead to more forgiving conversations and better relationships, it can tend to be about being nice.
But being cold-eyed, being nice, is a tactic, not a goal.
Imagine a negotiation, for example: you make an offer and the other person makes a counter-offer. Instead of continuing, just stay calm.
It is your turn to speak and yet you do not say anything.
As a result, you take control of your emotions. Maybe the other person is wondering if they killed the deal. Maybe they’ll sweeten the counteroffer before you’ve said anything.
I remember reading an article about how car dealerships used to use a two-word sentence to take advantage of people’s natural tendencies to want to say something. That is how it goes:
- Dealer: “I’m sure we can find a great car for you. What’s your budget?”
- Client: “My limit is $ 25,000.”
- Dealer: “Up to …”
Allegedly, a non-zero number of customers would take the bait and respond with a higher number. “Maybe we could go for $ 29,000.”
Don’t be like these people in 2021. Use these type of phrases to work on your emotional intelligence. And if you don’t have anything emotionally intelligent to say, don’t say anything at all.
(Don’t forget the free ebook: Improving Emotional Intelligence 2021who has a lot more of that type of advice. You can download it for free here.)
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.