This post is part of a series about the Emotionally Intelligent Trainer, how to use Emotional Intelligence to deliver the best training events possible. This is the first post of the series.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
You might have already heard about Emotional Intelligence (EI) in some form or another. But just in case this is your first time, EI refers to one's ability to perceive, use, understand, manage and handle emotions. EI has become somewhat of a trend as institutions are starting to realize how emotions play a key role in not just how we perform and behave, but also in the quality of our lives.
For instance, doctors, nurses and even air hostesses must be emotionally intelligent in their interactions with their patients/clientele.
But the question that we are concerned with is how we implement EI when training. It all boils down to the four key dimensions that have been categorized by many behavioral - and neuroscientists: Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Self-Management, and Relationship Management (Goleman, 1995). In this post, we'll unpack self-awareness.
Self-awareness - yet another trendy term, but how to implement it in practice when training?
Like with most things, the first step is always the toughest to take. To increase EI in training, you must start with increasing your self-awareness. And this means understanding how we as trainers are affected by our own emotions and how those emotions affect our behavior when training. Even whilst training online, our tone of voice, our body language, our word choices are constantly being monitored and absorbed by the people we are training.
Feedback to increase your self-awareness as a trainer
So, one way you can practically increase your self-awareness is through feedback. Never hold a training session without gathering feedback. This is important because sometimes our perceptions don't match reality. For instance, we ourselves might think that a training event went smoothly, but actually one of the participants was constantly bothered by the fact that they did not understand a key point you made in the beginning of the training session. Or perhaps, there was constant audio, visual problems that affected the event. Yes, it's true we cannot magically erase all issues and we surely are not always liked by everyone but the professional part of training and the message we are aiming to get across can be tailored to an audience's needs and tweaked to perfection through the feedback we receive.
You can ask for feedback constantly throughout the event. How's my audio? Can everyone hear me? Did everyone understand this point? Can anyone relate to this? Is anyone totally lost? How are you all doing? Is anyone feeling frustrated with this?
Another way you can ask for feedback is through anonymous surveying. My best advice is to embed the survey into the content of your training session. For instance, you can allot time and have your participants fill in the survey before moving to the final Q.A. This will verify that everyone fills it in. Also, you can do a lightening round at the end of the event where all the participants share their key takeaways from the training session. You can even arrange a quick call the next day to gather feedback from key participants, but overall, I strongly recommend implementing some way to receive anonymous feedback, so participants won't feel like they must filter themselves out of courtesy.
Gathering this sort of feedback will help you gain more self-awareness as a trainer and the things you need to work on as you continue delivering events.
Receiving feedback openly & consciously
Receiving feedback can sometimes be difficult, as certain emotions can arise. I recommend that you monitor your emotions as they can often indicate something that may require attention. You can use this time as yet another way of building self-awareness.
The more you practice this skill, I guarantee you, the better you become at recognizing your emotions and how you are perceived by others.