Connecting with people using emotional intelligence competencies
Do you remember Tina Turner’s classic ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It?’ Do you ever wonder how much love is in our business? Should we care about emotions in business and how it might increase our motivation, encourage our performance, affect our productivity? How it might influence overall business satisfaction?
Emotional intelligence (EI) is by definition the collection of human behaviours or skills that can be developed by an individual and is typically separated into four quadrants: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social management. In short: it teaches us to be aware of our emotions and the emotions of others, it teaches us ‘people skills’.
What about emotional intelligence among the business community, especially in the meeting and event industry? Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, even empathy rather than just pure performance outcome (facts, figures, statistics), are becoming of special interest for experienced industry professionals.
Here are some behind the scene secrets and methods to become an EI event professional:
Preparing the winning proposal definitely requires the ability to recognise the emotions of a potential client and respond accordingly, interpret some hidden messages between the RFP lines. It is perhaps not always just about the fees and budget, especially when developing motivation & incentive travel programmes.
Listen to your clients instead of talking about yourself, ask them meaningful questions and be sincerely interested in the answers. That way you will provide the client with the benefit of your experience and it would be hard to reject your proposal.
Organising events in multicultural settings is always a special challenge, whether working in another country or organising an event for clients and participants from other cultures. A good example is working with Japanese clients – you might never truly know or understand why they do the business the way they do. When working internationally there is no right or wrong way, only differences. So none is more important than controlling your own emotions and accepting others.
New trends, new technology, new generations could be your frustration or a step forward in your career. Even very experienced professionals don’t know it all. One of the most powerful statements is “I need your help”, even when addressing juniors or competitors. Most professionals are afraid they will appear weak, but actually people appreciate honesty and are eager to be helpful. But don’t forget they expect the favour might be returned when needed.
Organising events for clients that have seen it all is becoming more often our reality and I thank God for that. Fees are one of the least discussed parts; the real challenge is to meet the expectations of both the client and the guests, to “wow” them. Sometimes elegant and sofisticated, sometimes high-tech or adventurous, but always with real meaning and context. Each and every performance has to be unique. To make that happen have self-confidence, work in a team, give people a challenge to achieve and expect the best from them. Communicate ideas clearly, respect the influence of others, recognise your own strengths and weaknesses, pack it with professionalism and creativity and it will always lead to great event design and perfect event execution.
Behind the scene situations, when a client insist on last minute changes, suppliers are late, everyone needs something at the same time, the weather suddenly changes, the power supply collapses… seems like horror stories. Organising events means working in a stressful business environment, but is it really worth stressing over every single detail. The ability to recognise the situations that can provoke stress can have a very positive impact on resolving them quickly and smoothly. Use your creativity to overcome obstacles, to manage people and resolve conflicts.
Event business gives you great opportunities to meet new people, get to know them. It may become difficult to keep business and personal lives separate, but I personally don’t see this as a threat. In my opinion it is an advantage. If we don’t have a relationship with our clients would we win the business? Would we operate smoothly without friendly suppliers? Relationships are definitely precious in event business, as in life generally.
Daniel Goleman, internationally known psychologist and emotional intelligence expert, once wrote: “Vitality arises from sheer human contact, especially from loving connections. This makes the people we care about most an elixir of sorts, an ever-renewing source of energy. The neural exchange between a grandparent and a toddler, between lovers or a satisfied couple, or among good friends, has palpable virtues…the practical lesson for us all comes down to, nourish your social connections.”
I also truly belive that being aware of our emotions and the emotions of others makes us a good professional. It makes us also a good person. Personally it makes me feel good. So, do you still wonder “what’s love got to do with it”?
Aleksandra Uhernik Đurđek
Meetings & Events Professional, Freelancer
Croatia & Adriatic Region