Friday, 18 September 2009

What's your EIQ?


This month's Toastmasters magazine (Sep09, Sushma Subramanian) poses the question of emotional intelligence and it's link to public speaking.

Public speaking may be standing on a stage in an auditorium delivering a corporate presentation, talking to a classroom of students or deligates, or networking at an event.

Sushma refers to Daniel Goleman's renowned book 'Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ' ( that says 90% of success in people's lives can be accounted for by measures outside of IQ. Matters such as:

- Self-awareness

- Self-management of behaviours, such as body language

- Social Awareness, or the ability to perceive other people's emotions

- Relationship management

The article focuses on the relationship between the speaker and the audience, where the speaker makes an assessment of the audience's needs prior to speaking and then adjusts any story telling or examples in their speach so that they are more appropriate to the demographics of the group and the mood of the moment.

This is something that I personally think should and could be dealt with prior to the event. A good speaker will always find out interpersonal information about the audience prior to speaking so that they have a tailored speech.

The delivery of that speech on the day will depend on the mood of the speaker and interactive feedback from the audience. In toastmasters, we are advised to always prepare more substance to speak about than the time allows as this gives greater flexibility in your speech.

It's the feedback from and the relationship with the audience that relates to emotional intelligence. Steve Mitten, an emotional intelligence coach (Vancouver, Canada), says "It becomes more of a dance between the audience and the speaker, and it leads to a more powerful talk."

So, how do you pick up signs that your audience are highly interested or even bored in what you have to say? How do you know when to expand on a topic or move onto the next?

Just because someone doodles on a pad, takes copious notes, or never looks at you doesn't mean that their ears aren't open and you don't have their attention. I personally take notes and listen at the same time because it helps me to consolidate what I've listened to.

In the article, Sushma indicates that Emotional Intelligence is just a new title for old management techniques that identify personality and learning traits. I'm inclined to agree.

For years now psychlogists have been trying to work out the hows? and why? of human life. There have been many studies and papers on personal interaction that's both verbal and non-verbal. An interesting book I came across is 'Secrets of the Face', Lailan Young (ISBN 0 340 32355 8).

It facinates me how we like to pigeon hole and label things. We're an orderly society and like to have reasons and rationalisation.

So, what's your Emotional IQ and is it important?

I understand it simply as, your ability to perceive the feelings of others. In terms of giving a speech, it's important because you want to make a personal connection with the audience. That personal connection gives you the feeling of satisfaction that your speech was enjoyed and informative for the audience.

A pleasant time was had by all.



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