Level I: EQTunement
There are four actions of EQTunement that you should be taking during the conversation:
"I See You"
Make appropriate eye contact--not too much and not too little. How much is appropriate depends on the context of the conversation and relationship.
Too much eye contact can be perceived as a deliberate intent to dominate, intimidate, belittle, or make the other feel at a disadvantage. Too little eye contact can make you appear uneasy, unprepared, and insincere. Either one kills EQTunement. By rule of thumb, it is natural to use more eye contact when listening and less when speaking. Take into consideration potential cultural differences. The level of joy in the conversation will help guide you.
Using your eyes also helps you listen. Look for non-verbal cues and micro-signals that tell you what the other is feeling. Only a small percentage of adults can mask their emotions completely. People tend to reduce eye contact when talking about something shameful or embarrassing, when sad or depressed, or when accessing internal thoughts or emotions. Be sure to pay attention to body language.
"I Hear You"
There are many benefits to good listening. For example, most salespeople talk way too much (some research says 81% of a sales conversation is dominated by the one selling). The best understand that sales is 99% listening. Listening helps you gain insights and fresh ideas, especially when it comes to innovation or leadership. Listening also shows respect. Listening means you are talking less and hearing more. However, true listening goes beyond sitting quietly.
In Conversational EQ, we listen with our ears but hear with our hearts (the word "heart" is "hear" with a T). This simply means we are constantly listening for emotions which provide important data for Collaborative Change.
Listen to the other's tone of voice and speed of speaking. These are EQ signals that will help guide Collaborative Change.
"I Understand You"
We've adapted habit #5 from book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey: "Seek first to understand then be understood." Conversational EQ pushes this concept further by teaching:
Seek first to understand, rather than being understood.
It is natural to want to be understood and get your point across first, but this creates a Corrective Complex. Another mistake is to use what the other is saying to respond with a story of our own. For example, "I know how you feel, let me tell you how that actually happened to me this one time..." If all you have done is selectively listened and began planning in your mind what to say next, you have done nothing more than fallen into another version of the Corrective Complex. We typically listen to respond and not to really understand.
As foreign as this may be, EQTtunement through understanding requires you to drop the filter of your own life experiences and frame of reference. Act like you are hearing what is being said for the first time with no lens of your own perspective. Be intentional about being present in the conversation. You will be amazed at how quickly others will feel truly understood, which leads to an openness to understand you in return.
"I Care for You"
Regardless of the context of the conversation, every individual, from a child to a CEO, is seeking identity and a sense of belonging. We all desire security and significance. This is the human condition.
At its core, EQTunement is an act of caring. EQTunement always has a greater impact because most people rarely feel attuned to, so when it does happen, we experience tremendous joy. When your words and actions tell others that you care about their security and significance, that their identity and belonging is important to you, even if during just a brief encounter, the benefits are substantial for you both. Joy becomes your emotional wealth, which can be invested in all areas of life for personal success and professional fulfillment.
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