It doesn’t matter what our role is, we all want the people around us to be helpful, agreeable and have a desire to work with us. Being influential improves collaboration, engagement and reduces conflict. Here are 3 ways to use EQ to increase yours.
It is an oldie but a goody, the Dale Carnegie classic How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of my favorites. Who doesn’t want more influence? Being able to align opinions and motivations is something that some people can do with ease. And those who demonstrate EQ can use influence to help reach goals and inspire action in others. It is also important to differentiate between manipulation and influence. Manipulation is getting someone to do something that benefits you more than them. Influence is finding a solution that is mutually beneficial. Manipulation is about power; influence is about choice.
So how do you use emotional intelligence to increase your influence? Here are three simple tips:
1. Use language rich with emotion.
Brain research provides an interesting look at the way people connect on a neurological level. When two people are communicating using stories that are rich in emotional context, their brains “couple” and both experience a rush in neurochemicals. By being comfortable using your emotional expression, you will increase your ability to hook people to your message and enroll them in your ideas.
2. Adapting to their communication style.
By using the EQ skill of empathy, you can observe and identify the preferred communication style of others. Some are formal and reserved and want meetings that are scheduled, organized and come with a pre-shared agenda. Others are spontaneous and casual and respond best to unplanned brainstorming or problem-solving. Knowing your own preferred style first is important because it is likely the way you approach others without realizing it. Try taking the opposite approach that may not come as naturally, and see the difference it makes.
3. Being present.
It is very easy to be distracted by the number of tasks, interruptions and technology tools that steal our attention. Clearing your mind before interacting with others allows you to focus on the person in front of you. Using self-awareness to recognize your emotional state helps you to better connect your mood to your behaviors. It can also and alert you if those behaviors are having a negative impact on someone else. If people know you will be fully present with them, they will be more likely to feel meetings with you are productive. Paying attention also helps you better read others and understand what they care about the most. If you want to reach a mutually beneficial outcome, increased self-awareness helps you become a better negotiator.
Notice I said these were three “simple” tips, not “easy” tips. Some may take a little practice, but by focusing on the three R’s of EQ: Recognizing, Reading and Responding you will be able to do this more naturally and help yourself build more and more influence.