how to improve eq

HOW TO IMPROVE EQ (Emotional Intelligence)

So you know what EQ is and how to improve eq? Here’s how to use it.


How much do you know yourself?  To know oneself is to be emotionally intelligent. Everyone has a level of EQ, it’s how to improve eq and what we do it that makes or breaks our connection with each other as human beings.

Who do you know that has this down to a fine art? Some people just naturally give out the type of energy that attracts others to them.  Is that you?  If so, massive respect!  Have a high five because you’re already self aware, self regulated, internally motivated, have empathy and great social skills.

Trouble is, no matter what people tell you, we’re all emotional beings.  Every decision we make is led by some form of emotion, therefore is it not better to have insight into managing your emotions so decisions can be made with mindfulness?

Read on to find out what EQ and how to improve eq is, and read further to understand how to build on and improve your own EQ.


“If there’s something not working for you in your life, the first place to look is within”.

Paul Averill


What is Emotional Intelligence?


Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) is the ability for a person to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions. If you have strong EQ you can see things from some else’s point of view, you regulate judgment and responses to conflict. In addition, you remain calm under pressure.

If a person is emotionally intelligent, they understand why they fail, they understand why they succeed, they minimalise blame and take full responsibility for their actions.

They’re also great to be around.


The Five Categories of Emotional Intelligence and How to improve eq (EQ)


The American psychologist, Daniel Goleman, in his book, “Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” describes a framework of five elements defining emotional intelligence.

I’m keen to respect those original principles and write them here as originally intended rather than trying to paraphrase them.

These statements are from :

Self-Awareness – “When you have a high EI you usually are very much aware of yourself. You understand your emotions, and because of this, you don’t allow your feelings rule you. You have confidence because you trust your intuition and don’t allow your emotions get out of control. You also are willing to take an honest look at yourself. You understand your strengths and weaknesses, and you work on these areas so they can do better.” Many people believe that this element is the most important part of EI.


Self-Regulation – “This is the capacity to control emotions and impulses. If you have this ability to self-regulate, you typically don’t allow yourself to become too angry or jealous, and don’t make impulsive and careless decisions. You think before you act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, integrity, comfort with change and the ability to say no.”


Internal Motivation – “With a high degree of EI you are usually motivated. You are willing to defer immediate outcomes for long-term success. You are highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever you do.”


Empathy – “This is possibly the second-most important element of EI. It is the ability to associate with and understand the needs and perspectives of those around you. Those with empathy are good at identifying the feelings of others, even when the feelings may not be obvious. They, therefore, are usually superb at managing relationships, listening, and relating to others. With this characteristic, you avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way.”


Social Skills – “Being able to manage disputes, being excellent communicators, and having mastery at building and maintaining relationships are all aspects of good social skills, another mark of high EI. It is usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, right? Those with strong social skills are characteristically team players and rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine.”


So there you have it, that’s the 5 pillars of emotional intelligence. Are you EI yet? It’s all very well knowing what they are, but how do we improve on them?


How to improve your eq (Emotional Intelligence)

Have you ever been in a situation when you say one thing, its construed completely differently to how it was intended? Someone becomes offended, it gets awkward, and both people leave the conversation confused, slightly uncomfortable and well, just a bit odd!

I know I have.

Let’s say that you’re in a relationship and it’s not going so well.  For some reason you tend to have heated arguments about menial things.  It’s slowly but surely pushing you apart.

Let’s be honest, you both want to connect on a deeper level, we all do – but the ego can play havoc with our EQ when we’re confronted with a grumpy partner, or difficult conversation.

Using EQ to manage conversations will have a profound effect on the depth of connection with the people around you. People won’t say it, though they’ll know that you’re the guy who listens. Or you’ll have what I like to call “GRAVITAS”. I love that word. It encapsulates all things emotionally intelligent. Just Beautiful!


Good news! Emotional Intelligence can be learned and developed.

It’s time to take EQ by the balls and live it, breathe it, become it.

The next 5 strategies will set you on your way to improving your EQ. It’s easy enough to read them good people.  Your goal is not only to read them – remember them and practice them everyday.


Be willing to seek and accept feedback  

wil-stewart-24563A key step in becoming more emotionally intelligent is to be willing to seek and accept feedback. Ask those people you trust for their honest opinion. Be specific. Here’s an example over a beer with a mate.

“Mate, let me ask you a question, because I want to make sure I’m putting my best foot forward in everything I do – How do I come across in conversation? Do you think I listen? Do I look distracted? Am I approachable as a person?

That’s just one or two examples, but let me tell you this – people want to connect, people want to understand each-other, so if you take the first step in asking for honest feedback about yourself, you’ll be surprised at the response. You may even find they ask the same question of you. WIN-WIIN

Commit to not responding defensively. If you do, not only will it halt the conversation or turn it into an argument, next time you ask your mate they will clam up.


I can already feel your EQ levels increasing


Turn down the ego volume


What does that mean? Well, it’s that internal dialogue that never shuts up – the voice in our heads. It’s ok to listen to the internal dialogue when it serves us.

However, all too often our egotistical mind will cloud our judgments. In fact, sometimes it make us down right judgmental. To be emotionally intelligent is to be able to listen to someone speak whilst also filter out your own judgments and stereotypes, whether you agree with their narrative or not.

You can do this by focusing on what they’re saying – show them Active Listening (see my blog about How Active listening can Improve relationships)

If you start telling a negative story about what they may mean. Also ask yourself what the positive story could be.  Be prepared to just let it be, given that you can’t be sure how their action or words were truly intended.  We tend to see things on the negative side.


Accept Responsibility


Have you ever blamed someone or something for how bad your day is going? Yes, well congratulations, you’re just like the rest of us. However, assigning blame shows a lack of emotional intelligence.

Successful entrepreneurs and business owners will tell you that every issue their business experiences is their own responsibility. They do not blame others. The buck stops with them.

Take responsibility for your actions, your bad days and your good. It may sound brutally honest, but no cares as much about you, as you do, so when something doesn’t go your way, ask yourself – “what part did I play in this?”

“What responsibility CAN I take?”

Of course, some things clearly aren’t your fault – I get that. However, what I’m referring to here is the circumstantial daily annoyances
“Grrr the weathers s**t”

“Grrrr I was late to work because of the flippin terrible drivers”

“Grrr I never got that piece of work in on time cos whatshisname let me down.”


Self Reflect


Why is it that we always reflect on an argument or debate and think “Darn it I should’ve said that”. “Bugger, I wish I’d said this”

For some people self-reflection is immediate and they can respond very quickly in confrontational situations and acknowledge where perhaps they have reacted too strongly. For some it’s gradual and comes later on.

For me, it’s important to self reflect and give ourselves an opportunity to think – “ok what just happened there? Who was I in that exchange? Was I the best version of myself, or could I have done something differently to achieve a better WIN WIN outcome?

If you can do this well, and then take responsibility for your actions, you’re onto a winner!

Be Vulnerable


Possibly the numero uno strategy to high EQ.

The toughest part of this is to just be you, be ok to laugh at yourself. When we let go the need to impress people, we automatically become our authentic selves. It’s truly freeing, like skinny-dipping in a glacier lake.

That’s what people resonate with (not the skinny dipping – the authenticity).

If you’re like me, maybe you’ve spent years putting up a façade or mask of who you really are, you’ve been a “Yes Man/Woman, you’ve been shy but inside you just want to sing and dance.

It is a real challenge to be vulnerable. I won’t lie to you. However, by showing a little vulnerability you’ll be amazed the results.

To clarify, vulnerability is not weakness; it’s not being needy, and its not being the victim 24/7.   Showing a little bit of vulnerability will allow people a glimpse of your true self which in turn helps them connect with you.   That’s EQ good people. That’s EQ!


In summary – those who are emotionally intelligent are generally happier people – there’s research to show it. They enjoy more satisfying relationships and careers.

Be willing to seek and accept feedback  

Turn down the ego volume

Accept Responsibility

Self Reflect

Be Vulnerable

You can improve and grow your EQ – it can be strengthened like a muscle and cultivated like a potato.

Practice, Practice, Practice; and enjoy every minute of it.

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