Can You Be Socially Aware When You’re Socially Distanced?

According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, a leading expert when it comes to emotional intelligence, also known as E.Q., he shares that 90% of high performers are also high in E.Q. – 90%! In fact, research has shown that being high in E.Q. is an even greater predictor of success than just IQ alone. And why I find that fascinating and exciting is because while IQ tends to be relatively fixed, E.Q. is not. You can actually increase your emotional intelligence.  

Now, one of the skills that Dr. Bradbury talks about within emotional intelligence is social awareness. And that got me thinking…

How are we able to practice social awareness when we have to be practicing social distancing? How is that even possible?

Because social awareness is your ability to pick up on other people’s emotions. And there are two critical elements as to how you do that.

Number one is through observation. Now observation, when we’re in person, is pretty simple. If you’re engaged, you are activating all of your senses; you get to use everything to observe another person. So you can use your listening skills, you can observe full body language, you can feel energy, or lack of energy – it’s all right there.  

But when we are socially distant, when we are engaging in a virtual world, our ability to observe is so limited. In fact, it’s limited to this box, to a screen, depending on how much the person on the other end wants us to even see. So we don’t get to necessarily see full body language, and definitely the energy – we don’t get to feel that through a screen.

So that’s why the second element of social awareness is so important when we are social distancing and working in this virtual environment. And that second element is listening.  Listening.

How good of a listener are you in this virtual world?

When you are a good listener, it has such a positive impact on the other person. Plus, it’s allowing you to really pick up on the messages and what’s happening, so that you can drive the result. Whether that is a negotiation, trying to get people on board to a project, whatever it is, it’s going to help you achieve your goal as well.

So how good of a listener are you? When you’re coming on to your virtual presentations, your virtual meetings, when you’re social distancing, are you focused? Are you trying to multi-task? Are you getting easily distracted? Are you really in tune with the other person, listening to the messages, listening to the inflection in their voice, so that you can really pick up on the messages and create that connection?  

So if you want to be socially aware during social distancing, you’ve got to increase your listening skills. I’d love to hear from you. What are your best practices to be a really solid listener? Type them in the comments below.

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