As humans, we rely heavily on communication. Unfortunately, the ways we communicate are not always the most effective or emotionally intelligent. There are a few core tips to remember to foster emotional intelligence in our conversations and communication. Here are seven tips to help you create a positive and productive dialogue with others.
1) Listen with Compassion: This means listening with an open mind and heart to understand another person’s perspective and being mindful of your own biases, filters, and beliefs that may hinder you from coming from a place of pure understanding. Rather than jumping to conclusions or offering advice, practice listening compassionately. You can do this by being present in the conversation and listening to understand rather than just hearing what is said.
Sign that you are listening compassionately:
Your inner dialogue about the conversation and person is kind and warm, not judgmental, defensive, or dismissive.
You feel absorbed in their story, like watching a show or movie.
When you feel strong emotions about what is said, you quickly remind yourself this isn’t about you but them feeling heard and understood.
2) Avoid Judging & Labeling: It can be easy to label someone or judge them based on their thoughts, feelings, or behavior without really understanding why they have chosen that path. Instead of leaping to judgment, aim to ask questions and provide feedback without judgment or labels attached—because none of us are perfect.
3) Acknowledge Unspoken Messages & Feelings: When communicating with others, we should recognize unspoken messages and feelings behind what is said and what is not said to better understand where people are coming from. We can do this by paying attention to body language cues such as facial expressions and posture during the conversation.
Here are a few of examples of how to identify the message and feelings behind the words.
Tone: How we say things tells far more than what is being said. If you detect a tone, you can kindly acknowledge it by saying (with a calm and respectful tone yourself), “When you said _____, it sounds like you feel frustrated/irritated/upset/worried. Would that be far to say? If not, I would be grateful for clarification.”
Body language: The more animated someone appears, it’s likely they feel intense emotions. For example, wide eyes, scowls, flailing arms, wide mouth when speaking, and pacing are all indicators of strong emotions. When dealing with individuals expressing this body language, it is best to listen until their behavior is more calm and neutral. Individuals who feel concerned, depressed, or insecure may exhibit behavior such as failing to make eye contact, bowing their head, cowering, hugging their arms or torso, fidgeting with their hair, nails, or biting their lip.
Words: Deciphering someone’s words or the lack of words can be challenging. For example, if someone says, “You are a terrible person.” The underlying message could be several things. You may have done something they believe was terrible, they may be projecting their insecurities and beliefs about themselves onto you, or they may have had a bad day and are simply taking it out on you. The only way to get to the bottom of what they really mean to say is to ask questions. For instance, “What do you believe I have done for you to label me as a terrible person?” Reference tip #5.
4) Communicate Respectfully & Openly: Respectful communication involves speaking clearly but also politely with kindness and sincerity towards the other person’s feelings. Openness means being honest about your thoughts and experiences, even if it may be uncomfortable for both parties involved in the conversation.
5) Ask Questions & Be Curious: When engaging with others, it's important that we remain curious about the topic at hand rather than responding out of habit or agreement - even if it’s something we already know a lot about! Ask questions that allow you both to learn more about one another’s perspectives on the subject matter at hand - this will help foster meaningful dialogue between both parties involved in the discussion!
6) Validate & Offer Support: Validation means acknowledging someone's thoughts and feelings without attempting to fix them or telling them how they should feel differently; it's simply accepting where they are at in their process right now without judgment or opinion attached! Offering support means providing encouragement and a sense of safety so that individuals can express themselves freely without fear of repercussions!
7) Establish Boundaries & Stay True to Yourself: Establishing boundaries is key when fostering emotional intelligence through communication - boundaries allow us to keep our emotions separate from others while still allowing us to engage in meaningful dialogue! Additionally, staying true to yourself will enable you to remain authentic throughout conversations which helps build trust between all parties involved!
Communication plays an integral role in fostering emotional intelligence –– both within us and between people we interact with daily. Following these seven tips, we can create meaningful connections based on mutual respect and understanding, leading to greater self-awareness and interpersonal growth! Here’s hoping these tips help you become more emotionally intelligent communicators today!