You’re more likely to be successful if you have a grip on your emotions and you can read the emotions of others around you.
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What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is your ability to successfully manage relationships and understand emotional information.
Emotional intelligence has the following 5 characteristics according to the NYT best-selling author Dr. Daniel Goleman:
- Regulation of Own: Taking responsibility of your actions, managing change, and listening to new ideas from customers and team members.
- Awareness of Own: The ability to recognize emotions as they’re happening, tuning into your self-confidence and true skills during the creative process.
- Empathy: Recognizing the struggle of others by walking in their shoes. Emphatic freelance web designers are good at cooperating.
- Motivation: Staying optimistic and recasting negative emotions despite facing difficulties in a project. For instance, you can reduce blind spots and glean more ideas by being a part of a diverse team.
- People Skills: The ability to forge an alliance, inspire others and manage conflict. This characteristic is beneficial in web design as conflicts often arise between the freelancer, creative agency and the agency’s client.
By acquiring these 5 characteristics of emotional intelligence, you can become more successful and productive in your field as well as help others to be successful and productive. Byron Stock stated that EI helps individuals in making informed decisions in-the-moment.
When you have emotional intelligence, you’ll listen carefully to the client’s needs and create a design that enriches the end user’s experience. You’ll also embrace changes and show empathy if the client’s website visitors respond negatively to some aspect of the design.
Clients will then use their social skills (relationship management) and personal competence (self-awareness) – their own emotional intelligence – to make informed decisions, which will increase customer loyalty. An MIT study pointed out that when customers receive the exact experience they desire, you win engagement and loyalty.
Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winning psychologist, stated that individuals would rather give their business to those they trust and like rather than individuals they don’t, even if it’s costing them more. EI is necessary to make clients feel good about you. If you can see the design requirements from someone’s perspective, that of a client or a collaborator, you can provide satisfactory work.
How to Acquire Emotional Intelligence
Is there a way to acquire emotional intelligence? Can you become more effective in staying composed, withstanding pressure, and listening with empathy? Yes is the short answer. Anyone can increase their emotional intelligence, regardless of their initial level. Here are some tips.
1. Work on Your Listening Skills
Listening skills don’t receive a lot of attention, but to manage emotions of others, you need to recognize that your customers have a strong will to be heard. With good listening skills, you are able to pick up the emotions behind briefs, and receive crucial information (that you would normally miss out) about projects.
To develop listening skills, acknowledge that you are listening when talking to a customer. Mentally restate their requirements, and repeat what you heard at the end of the conversation. Avoid saying anything that begins with “you”, such as “you need to….”and “you are…” It will make the customer feel you’re directing them, and they’ll be less willing to reveal their emotions during a conversation.
2. React Positively to Criticism
Criticism is never welcoming. After you invest hours into a project, it can be extremely stressful when a customer tears down your design. When that happens, you have two options: let your emotions get the best of you or analyze the situation and learn from it.
So when you’re on the receiving end, whether the delivery is ideal or not, use the feedback to help improve your design. Don’t close your mind to negative feedback, but put your personal feelings aside and draw from the experience by examining what the client is dealing with that you don’t see.
3. Get EI Coaching
According to Harvard Business Review, interpersonal skills is the most coachable element of EI. Adults can be trained in social etiquette, stress management, and even empathy. According to a cited study that highlights the social brain’s plasticity, it is suggested that people, through adequate training, can become more compassionate, altruistic, and pro-social.
EI coaching not only enhances productivity – it leads to higher levels of physical and mental health as well as happiness. The most popular coaching programs fall under the category of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Programs that increase psychological flexibility – ability to deal with unpleasant circumstances – are also effective.
In the light of demands that come with freelance design work, you’ve got to keep an eye out for emotional demands. Consider yourself in an uncharted territory, where you’ll need emotional intelligence to combine human emotion, cognitive behavior and design technology. And be open to the possibility that you’re wrong and you’re going to adapt to the changes demanded by customers.