You may not think that emotional intelligence is relevant to you. But, have you ever been upset by an e-mail, WhatsApp, Teams or Skype message that you received?
With stress levels higher than usual in the current lockdown conditions, you may find some people are more sensitive. This article will give you several tips to increase your emotional intelligence and avoid offending your colleagues and clients when communicating virtually.
You only get one opportunity to make a good first impression and build a good relationship. Don’t waste it!
Put credit in the emotional bank account
In his classic personal development book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about the concept of the emotional bank account. Basically, when you do positive things for others you are putting positive credit into the emotional bank account, which means that people will treat you in a more favourable way.
You can put deposits into the emotional bank account in several ways, including:
- Attending to the little things – which are the big things in relationships
- Keeping commitments
- Apologising sincerely when making a withdrawal
Be careful of withdrawals from the emotional bank account
Withdrawals from the emotional bank account, and the resulting lack of trust and rapport, might be caused by actions such as not keeping promises, being unkind or arrogant.
Reread your message before you click send
You may find in face-to-face it’s easy to build rapport, but in written communication it’s easy to get the tone wrong. Showing a lack of empathy and thoughtfulness in virtual communication can have a huge effect on a relationship. In the future that person may not want to help you out, instead preferring to work with others who have perhaps taken the time to simply say thank you or built a much stronger emotional connection. Remember the power of a simple thank you!
Don’t send a message when you feel negative emotions
Have you ever sent an e-mail when you were angry? With phones in our pockets, with the stress of the lockdown and some with the added pressure of children and financial worries, it’s too easy to send a quick message on Teams or WhatsApp that could get your colleague’s back-up and negatively impact your relationship.
If you feel stressed or angry, be sure to pause and reread your message before you send it. If in doubt sleep on it, often things will look totally different in the morning.
When we praise others in a sincere and honest way it reduces the risk they will feel annoyed or frustrated. Most people love to be told they’ve done a good job! Usually, it will help to enhance your relationship, so try to think of how you can give a compliment to your colleagues or clients when you communicate next.
During this stressful time for people around the world, it’s important to be emotionally intelligent and mindful of our behaviour so we avoid offending others by mistake when working virtually. Take care in your virtual communication, rereading your communication before sending and taking the time to compliment you’ll find yourself on the right track!
To understand more about virtual communication and how to improve the way you work, you may be interested in our Microsoft Teams: Communication and Collaboration course or simply just our Effective Communication Skills training program.