Emotional Intelligence is key to making people feel the impact of what you have to say. Whether you’re presenting, negotiating or simply making your point to the room, by making your audience feel inspired or motivated, informed or challenged, you can influence their thinking.

Winning hearts and minds is a collaborative exercise. It’s important to carry your audience with you, shaping their opinion through patience and empathy. It’s not enough to simply rely on the logic of your argument. Sentence structure is rarely a memorable experience, better to include thoughts that are heartfelt and persuasive.

Traditionally, business leaders (following psychologists) talked in terms of IQ – intelligence quotient, a score calculated, in part, from a set of tests. In 1990, researchers Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer created the term Emotional Intelligence, (EI, also known as emotional quotient or EQ). This was popularised by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book, Emotional Intelligence, from then on EI came to be seen as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.

Emotional Behaviours at Work

Our eLearning Learnflix course on Emotional Intelligence will help you understand how and why people respond to the things they hear. These skills will help you relate to people and better handle challenging situations. If you can manage emotions, your own and other people’s – especially when under pressure – you will have stronger relationships and more success at work.

The course focuses on the ‘how’ of emotional intelligence by exploring the EBW Model (Emotional Behaviours at Work) — the emotional intelligence behaviours that characterise EI in the workplace.

This is a practical, work-based model of Emotional Intelligence, with eight main elements:

Decisiveness. Decisiveness shows you’re eager to take on responsibility, others trust your abilities because you trust them yourself. It pays to carry out research, indecision goes hand in hand with lack of knowledge. Be logical, ask yourself whether your emotions are clouding or supporting your decision?

Motivation. Author Daniel Pink believes there are three essential intrinsic motivators (the internal factors that make us do things) in a business setting:

  • Autonomy, the desire to direct our own lives.
  • Mastery, the urge to develop.
  • Purpose, the need to do what we do for reasons bigger than ourselves.

Influence. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests that to be more influential it helps to have a specific outcome in mind. This will help you define what can and can’t be influenced.

Adaptability. People will disagree with you. Rather than lock horns with them, find other ways to make your point. Flexible behaviour in a difficult situation can sometimes influence the outcome more effectively than rigidly sticking to your strategy.

Empathy. The ability to empathise with people can build that crucial level of trust and emotional engagement that makes for success in business. Nursing scholar Theresa Wiseman suggests there are four attributes of empathy:

  • To see the world as others see it.
  • To be non-judgmental.
  • To understand other’s experiences.
  • To communicate back the emotion you see.

Conscientiousness. Being conscientious at work involves focus and presence, values that help to reduce misunderstanding and mistakes. These values are also the starting point in building better relationships. By remaining present in the moment with other people, you can focus on what they are saying and react accordingly.

Stress Resilience or Emotional Control. Stress resistance and emotional control are essential aspects of everyday business life. Define your emotional triggers and learn to focus on the elements you can control. Once you understand the situations or personality styles that trigger you, you’ll be better prepared in reacting to them. The more you keep your aims and audience in mind, the easier it will be to craft your response.

Self-Awareness. By understanding your own emotions, you’ll be better equipped in managing relationships at work.  According to Harvard Business Review writer Anthony K. Tjan, “[T]here is one quality that trumps all, in virtually every great entrepreneur, manager and leader. That quality is self-awareness. The best thing leaders can do to improve their effectiveness is to become more aware of what motivates them and their decision-making.”


In understanding these eight points, you’ll find it easier to understand your audience. Beware though, one size does not fit all. Be curious about who you’re talking to. What’s important to them, about business, time, money or relationships? Understanding your clients emotionally can help establish and maintain mutually satisfying working relationships, characterised by honesty and trust. The important word is ‘mutual’. It’s the quality of your relationships that counts, rather than the quantity.

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