Cell phones (and more specifically, smart phones) are ubiquitous these days, and sadly, so is poor cell phone etiquette. Are you part of the problem? By tapping into your Emotional Intelligence, you don’t have to be. Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) is a particular type of social aptitude — it’s the capacity to perceive, understand, reason with, and manage emotions (PURM). These behaviors characterize how people interact and form relationships. The good news is that EI can increase with awareness, application, and practice. And high EI translates to solid, positive bonds essential for successful business dealings.
If you think you may be exhibiting low EQ when using your cell phone, here are a few tips:
1. A skill associated with EI is emotional management of others, or influencing the moods and emotions of others. When using your cellphone, show some courtesy to those you’re with. Think about how you’d feel if you were engaged in an important conversation or discussion and your companion kept checking their phone. If a call or text will interrupt or disrupt an activity or a conversation, take a moment to switch your phone to “silent” or “off”. If you must take a call, move away to speak so as not to bother others.
2. One of the core competencies of EI is emotional self-control, or effectively managing strong emotions in the moment. Therefore talking on your cell phone about intense or personal matters in a public place is also a no-no. Give serious matters such as these the privacy and focus needed to deal with the strong emotions the conversation may create. You’ll be putting yourself in a space within which you can clearly manage the emotions that arise, while sparing the “audience” from overhearing an awkward or inappropriate one-sided conversation.
3. Another key to high EI is emotional expression – expressing one’s own emotions effectively. Yes – texting is great for its immediacy and privacy. But sometimes, the true intention or meaning behind a text is lost in translation. In these instances, it is both more courteous and impactful to find some time in your schedule to speak to a person directly so you can more specifically discuss the issue at hand. You can accomplish this over the phone, via Skype, or even in person. Don’t forget that the vocal component of communication (how you sound) is of huge significance in communication, and that with texting the majority of this is lost.
High emotional intelligence is equally important internally — to foster efficiency, morale, and innovation — and externally — to inspire customer and partnership loyalty. Poor interpersonal skills create enduring negative perceptions that reduce productivity and can damage brand and corporate identity. Exercise good self-management skills. Don’t let your cell phone drag your EQ down. Remember – be in control of your phone – don’t let it control you!