There are many skills to master if you want to improve your Emotional Intelligence (EQ). By far, the most important of these skills is the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

In all areas of business, you need to understand what is going on in someone else's mind. Whether it's a customer who you're working hard to satisfy or a client with whom you have some tough negotiating ahead, you need to know where the other person is at.

When you "put yourself in someone else's shoes," this means that you see yourself and the situation from their point of view. This is an essential EQ skill.

To put yourself in someone else's shoes imagine that person's emotions and motivations. Sometimes this takes some reflection, but if you can understand the motive or feeling behind a person's actions, you can easily understand why they did what they did (or didn't do).

Think about the last few weeks and find a time when someone's words or actions angered you. You may have been right to be angry, but in the other person's mind, it's quite likely that they were "right" as well. People nearly always do what's right for them in a particular situation.

As an experiment, imagine what it's like to be that person that angered you. See the world through their eyes and imagine what happened to them leading up to the encounter.

Now, consider it this way: there's no fault and no harm done. You both acted "right" and yet things didn't work out the way they should've. But what you've done is uncovered the reason for the other person's behaviour and this is a key part of developing your EQ.

Don't just do this exercise in negative situations. It definitely helps when you're frustrated or angry, but it's just as important in positive experiences.

For example, when you create marketing materials, you should put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What problem is the customer hoping to solve by buying a product such as yours? What are the customer's expectations? What will they experience when they encounter you?

If you get into the habit of regularly putting yourself in the shoes of others, you'll improve your empathy and, with it, your EQ. It helps even more if you learn to sharpen your observational powers so that you can read the subtle non-verbal clues people give you.

Can you do this? I'm sure you can.

To your success...

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Mark Russell Inspired Performance Coaching – Dedicated to Your Success.