To communicate strategically, global managers must demonstrate two essential life skills, emotional intelligence and social intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is our self-awareness, self-control and ability to govern our emotions. Social Intelligence is our ability to get along with others and read situations.
We know it’s critical to communicate with intelligence. Given the importance of these communicating effectively, it’s hard to believe that some managers miss simple cues that indicate a customer isn’t happy. Sometimes it’s the rude mail clerk selling stamps at the post office who tells us a minute before closing we need to come in earlier next time. Perhaps it’s the accountant down the hall who wants everyone to believe he’s too busy to answer a question. In the mix of things, we sometimes forget that a friendly gesture, even a smile, can make a difference. Even when we go the extra mile to understand insensitive behaviors, there may be underlying causes that are influencing another person’s behavior. In these situations, individuals may have a physical or emotional challenges or difficulties at home or at work. Understanding that an infinite number of things can influence a person’s behavior is a part of being socially intelligent. If we are truly interested in developing genuine relationships, we need to know what motivates people.
Understanding What Drives People
Managers can use a number of strategies to improve their emotional and social intelligence. We can begin by learning to identify the motivational drivers of others and ourselves. Then we can start building more effective relationships, teams, and employees who will, in turn, produce more satisfied customers.
Once we identify what drives people, we still need to learn successful communication skills. Every e-mail, tweet, Facebook post, speech and conversation can potentially motivate others to action, settle a difference, create a relationship, make amends, and express understanding of the needs of others. But social media, texting and cell phones have also given us more opportunities to send bad messages or wrong messages. Before we use these new tools, we really need to master how and when to use them to achieve our goals.
Communicating through social media, texting, and e-mail does not offer the advantages of face-to-face seeing and interpreting non-verbal signs and changes in vocal pitch. However, there are different advantages. Since there is a record of everything we write, we are accountable for everything we do. For some of us, social media provide a psychological defensive mechanism for dealing with situations that we would prefer to avoid. Instead of making a phone call, we send a text or an e-mail message to escape an uncomfortable situation.
Combine Emotional Intelligence with Social Intelligence For Communication Intelligence
Here are 11 strategies that connect emotional intelligence with social intelligence to provide communication intelligence.
- Be a Good Listener
Being a strong listener shows respect and helps build trust. Listening skills are necessary to acquire the right information to make informed decisions. Through effective listening we can communicate well with others.
- Communicate with Integrity
Be honest and make choices that adhere to strong moral and ethical principles. Strive for honesty and truthfulness in all communications.
- Use Social Media with Caution
Use social media but carefully scrutinize choice of words to determine how the message could be interpreted by others and the intended audience. Remember that they message is being broadcast for the world to see.
- Make First Impressions Count
Initial interactions are uncomfortable and uncertain. During our first communication, we develop perceptions and judgements about forming future business ties and relationships. Thus we should keep messages professional and courteous.
- Be Respectful and Show Concern
Always allow the other party to state their opinion and ideas first. Listen carefully and observe their tone and body language. Try to see the problem from their side. Separate facts from options and consider all relevant information before speaking.
- Don’t Guess
Don’t guess what the speaker is trying to communicate. If we don’t understand something, we should try to paraphrase information and ask clarifying questions to ensure understanding. We should acknowledge understanding with non-verbal messages that encourage the speaker to continue.
- Encourage Openness and Sharing
Success and innovation thrive on the opinions and ideas of others. Encourage an environment of openness and sharing.
- Be Sensitive to Foreign Audiences
Adapt to the local social norms when presenting to foreign audiences. Be particularly patient when listening to non-native English speakers and avoid interruptions. When necessary, hire a professional translation company when the language barrier is too great. It’s never wise to pretend to understand someone.
- Be Detailed
To produce action-oriented messages, we must be SMART. This means producing messages that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time explicit.
- Under Promise and Over Deliver
It’s never a good idea to disappoint clients. However, there are times when unanticipated events interfere with delivery times or job requirements. We must use good project management skills but also provide some flexibility for when things don’t go as planned.
- Choose the Right Medium
Decide on the best method to deliver the message. Should it be online or offline, public or private, formal or informal, one-on-one or in a group or live or simulcast? Carefully consider the advantages, disadvantages and ramifications of each.