Emotional intelligence is a key quality that’s only starting to be appreciated for how important it really is.
Understanding your own emotions and those of other people is crucial in living a meaningful and connected life.
That’s why understanding the habits of emotionally intelligent people is so helpful for all of us to learn from.
In this article I’m taking a look at the conversational habits of emotionally intelligent people. These habits make a massive difference and are something we can all do more in our conversations as well.
1) They’re sincere
There’s no ability to gain somebody’s trust without being sincere and really caring.
This is what the emotionally intelligent man or woman offers:
They listen with sincerity and with real interest, not just because they feel they “should” or because it’s nice.
The emotionally intelligent individual makes it crystal clear that they really do want to know more and are hearing what is being said.
This sincerity and feeling truly heard allows other people to open up more to them and to truly like them.
2) They listen without snap judgments
The next thing that emotionally intelligent people do in conversations is that they listen without rushing to judgment.
Many people hear something they don’t like and jump right in:
“What? You actually believe that?”
“Why would you say that?”
The emotionally intelligent individual doesn’t do this. He or she stays a step back and focuses on listening instead of just responding.
He or she avoids jumping straight to a snap judgment and instead hears the other person out a bit more. They may end up disagreeing or wanting to add their own perspective that clashes, but they’d still prefer to hear everything being said.
3) They ask relevant follow-up questions
Another key thing that emotionally intelligent people do is ask relevant follow-up questions in a conversation.
They don’t just sit there like a bump on a log or comment on the weather.
They pick up on where somebody left off and ask a question about it.
For example, if they see a work colleague at the mall and the work colleague starts talking about holiday shopping and how busy they are, the emotionally intelligent person might ask:
“Bought any interesting gifts today?”
This keeps the conversation going and spurs it forward.
This makes people like them because they actually feel heard.
4) They display receptive and empathetic body language
Body language makes a big difference when it comes to a conversation and how pleasant and meaningful it is.
Even the most everyday conversation is much better when there’s eye contact and both parties are into it.
The emotionally intelligent person makes sure to have receptive body language so that the other person understands the conversation is wanted and that they are valued.
- Frequent eye contact
- Facing the person speaking
- Nodding and smiling
- Gesturing when appropriate
- Mirroring and emphasizing the other person’s points when appropriate
The emotionally intelligent person understands that nobody really wants to talk to someone who’s not into it or just wants to leave.
Emotionally intelligent people are likable because their conversations are built on respect.
5) They share their own overlapping experiences where appropriate
When appropriate, emotionally intelligent people do their best to find common ground.
The best way to do this is usually to find some overlapping experiences, interests or information.
For example, if a person is discussing difficulty doing their taxes, the emotionally intelligent person might mention their own confusion and disgust with high tax rates…
They may then also mention that they know a great accountant who’s very skilled at finding the best benefits to claim on your taxes.
In such a way, the emotionally intelligent individual has demonstrated value as well as solidarity, likely leading to a very positive reaction from the person they are speaking with.
6) They use first names when appropriate and give you their full attention
Emotionally intelligent people are all about giving respect and specific attention.
They will often ask somebody’s first name when first meeting them or even in a common interaction such as when being served at a gas station or at a restaurant.
“Thanks, Amanda,” they then say, even if the interaction was only a few words.
This may seem very simple, and it is, but a small touch like this goes a very long way, especially in today’s busy world where people often feel like a number.
When the emotionally intelligent person gives this kind of personalized attention and devotes their whole focus to somebody, even only for a short time, it makes them highly likable and appealing to everybody they come across.
7) They engage in light touching or friendly hand gestures to reassure and connect with the other person
Light touching is another thing that emotionally intelligent folks sometimes do when appropriate.
This depends on how well they know the person and the level of comfort and intimacy, of course.
But generally speaking, a consensual light touch on the shoulder or arm is a good example of what I’m talking about here.
The light touches are a way to reassure somebody that they are listening, as well as a form of kinetic connection, releasing oxytocin and bonding chemicals between the two individuals.
Emotionally intelligent people understand that talking is a powerful activity and that by demonstrating physical closeness and gesturing where appropriate, they build much stronger bridges.
Conversational intelligence isn’t that complicated at heart:
It’s about giving other people respect, attention and focus and doing your best to provide value.
It’s also about staying brief where possible and emphasizing active listening instead of just talking.
People have plenty of needs and problems, and finding someone who’s stable and secure enough to hear them out is a relief.
Just make sure you don’t become a people pleaser or let people treat you as an emotional punching bag!
But with healthy respect and boundaries, you can adopt the above conversational habits of emotionally intelligent folks and watch your interactions become more satisfying and meaningful as a result.