Throughout my time in law school and business school, professors, student services offices and my fellow students exhorted the importance of my grades to securing the best post-graduate positions.
They were right, of course. Grades are incredibly important. But, why then, were there some unlucky high achievers who still had trouble recruiting? Top 10% of our class, but no offers to speak of? Emotional intelligence, or, a lack thereof.
Understanding how to relate to others by conversing fluently in different registers and making everyone you come into contact with feel seen and heard is an underrated skill. I myself remember when I was in undergrad at Columbia, working myself to the bone and skipping recruiting events in sophomore year.
It wasn’t until I was a senior that I realized that people who had worked half as hard as me, but made it to all of those events I skipped, and then followed up with the right people, had been offered internship positions I hadn’t even been interviewed for. It was at that moment that I understood the importance of emotional intelligence to building the social currency that dictates success in our world, and in our generation.
So, then, what makes a person emotionally intelligent? How do you tell if you need an emotional intelligence tune-up, so to speak? Here are 3 signs that you can and should work to improve your emotional intelligence.
First, are you a good listener? The most effective way to establish stable and mutually rewarding relationships with others is to practice empathetic listening. Make eye contact, listen to listen, not to formulate a response, and find genuine interest and enjoyment in what is being shared with you.
Second, are you thinking about what your peers, mentors and other conversation partners have to gain from social interactions with you? You should always be thinking of conversations as two-sided in their potential. Just as you ideally want to be entertained, educated, and pleased by any conversation you’re a part of, so does your conversation partner!
Third, have a win-win perspective. Some find that spirited debates are the type of conversation they prefer. However, if you aren’t sure that your conversation partner is the same in that respect, better to consider their differing perspective an addition to your education in humanity and move on. Careful, considerate attention and responses give us a win-win situation, where both parties find points of agreement/similarity, and you can move on to discussing a topic that provides the connection and relationship building that you are looking for!
Have any questions? Make sure to share them with me on the Contact Me page!