Communication 101: Emotionally Intelligent Communication Strategies and Tactics to Save Time, Money and Energy

If you don’t have time to do it right,
when will you have time to do it over?

~John Wooden

Shifting into a more emotionally intelligent communication style may seem like it’ll take more time, but in reality it will save time (hence the above quote). Misunderstandings, misinterpretations and faulty assumptions lead to ineffective and inefficient outcomes, as well as highly toxic and dysfunctional relationships, all of which takes more time.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in three simple (but not always easy) steps:

  1. Knowing, managing and appropriately expressing your own emotional states.
  2. The ability to detect what others’ emotional states are and knowing how to appropriately respond to such emotional states.
  3. Effectively and appropriately building a bridge of communication and connection between your emotional states and others’ emotional states.

Communication basics:

  • Listening: Body language, silence and voice tone usually say much more than the words themselves. Always wise to start by simply mirroring back, “What I think I heard you say was_____________.” What you thought you heard or what the other person meant to say isn’t always what was actually said, heard or meant. When you mirror something back you eliminate a lot of misunderstanding, misinterpretation and faulty assumptions right from the start.
  • Understanding: Drill down to make sure you really understand. “Tell me more about that,” is a great way to get to the core. Understanding does NOT necessarily mean agreeing, and it can be helpful to at least empathize with the other person. “I can understand why/how you may think/feel that way,” is a simple statement of understanding.
  • Clarifying: “So let me make sure I got all this,” is a way to summarize what was said to make sure everything is clarified.
  • Request: “What you’d like/expect from me is __________,” and “My request is _________,” are both ways to effectively communicate what exactly is expected, either by you or from you. Requests are far more effective than demands.

Communication breakdowns:

  • Emotional reaction: Allowing your emotions to override your brain’s rational operating system. Also, reading too much into someone else’s emotional reaction can trigger you to have your own emotional reaction.
  • Assumptions: “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” ~Henry Winkler. It’s okay to have an assumption, but make sure you check it out. (See clarifying, understanding and listening above.)
  • Right/Wrong: Being “right” or seeing others as “wrong” tends to create walls and canyons between people. Emotionally intelligent communication is all about connecting. “Right” and “wrong” tend to either trigger defensiveness or shutdown, neither of which are helpful.

Emotionally intelligent communication summary:
Say what you mean; mean what you say, and never say it mean.

There you have it: Your official one page cheat-sheet to emotionally intelligent communication for happier, healthier and more harmonious relationships at work and at home, all of which will save you more time, energy and money!