Let’s Get Emotional: How EI Can Strengthen Your Professional Relationships
Posted in Customer Service
Author: Jen Dugan
So what does a facial expression tell you? Everything! Emotional Intelligence is something that impacts all of us in the Insurance Industry. It does not matter if you are an adjuster, agent, underwriter, accountant or compliance; you need to be a student of people. It is necessary to make a cogent effort to consistently work on our emotional intelligence because it will only help you in the long run.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
What is this buzz phrase that we hear about so much? “Emotional intelligence (EI) is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.” (Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. Emotional intelligence 2.0).
How to Practice Emotional Intelligence
My love for EI started at a young age. No, not my Elmer Fudd or Pepe Le Pew watching days, but during late Middle School, early High School. My family and I would watch movies and try to find symbolism. It was a game, a challenge to find the hidden meaning of the story without any verbal cues. To me, that is EI; you are looking at all the emotional signals from yourself, co-worker or family and learning how to adapt your state of mind or help understand the state of mind of another individual.
Start from Within
EI is about listening, listening to one’s self and others. The mirror can be a rough place to start in the morning, but we commonly start there for our outside self. How do you create a mirror for the inside that we far too often ignore? Sitting in reflection for five minutes each morning can be the difference between a bad day and a great day.
So let me ask you this; how do you start your morning? Are you happy and excited to start the day, or are you tired and grumpy to no fault of your own? Was it a rough night with a teething toddler or maybe the flu has hit your household? So, how do you fix it? Only you know, but for me, it is writing in my gratitude journal or getting an extra long hug from one of my kids and husband. If it has been a terrible morning, I may want to change my Karma and do something nice for someone else. Yep, if it has been a bad morning and it keeps getting worse, I will buy someone else a coffee or bring someone flowers because doing stuff for others changes my mood for the better.
So, how do you identify the moods of others? BE PRESENT. When you answer the phone, walk into the office or through the front door of your insured’s home what do you see or hear? Is there a smile in their voice or sadness? When meeting an insured after a catastrophic event, is their face red from crying because the tornado just destroyed their home? Take the time to be present and have empathy, look them in the eyes and let them know you are here to make things right.
As an Agency Relations Specialist, when I go into an agent’s office I look for signs to help me understand the environment and vibe. Are the monthly numbers written on the whiteboard written in red or black? What can I do to help them write more business?
If you stop and pay attention to yourself as well as others, you will be amazed how a small gesture can impact someone for good, strengthen the relationship and to have a positive impact.