The tech market is growing and so is the emotional intelligence of the devices we interact with. But what about us? How can people become more emotionally intelligent and what tech is there to help?
Research confirms the market for affective technology is expected to rise to over $53 billion by the year 2021. Affective computing technology is the AI side of computing. It is the programming part that concentrates on touch software, speech recognition (Siri and Alexa), gesture recognition, facial feature recognition (retina-scanning) and analytics software.
Programmers and software engineers are making the computers and devices we interact with more emotionally intelligent – at least enough to understand when we are happy or angry. In future, that kind of emotional intelligence (emotional quotient or EQ) could come into play when we are 15 minutes into a call (and still on hold) to customer services and we start getting angry. Could it understand our frustration and put us through quicker? That remains to be seen, but in the meantime, here are three ways in which we can use today’s tech to improve our human, everyday EQ and get the best out of our personal and business situations.
1. Utilise listening skills
In most conversations, people tend to just wait for the other person to finish speaking so they can then make their point. EQ means really listening to what the other person is saying. When people listen (and repeat or summarise what has been said), they get a greater understanding of the other person’s point of view. The other person then becomes more amenable to alternative points of view because they feel their own point has been accepted. This is basic psychology and is used by both police interviewers and politicians.
Language apps, like Babel or HelloTalk, are excellent tools for developing listening skills. They promote listening and repeating, and then prompt users to respond to questions with answers, making the user accurately listen to and translate what is being said. It not only increases your EQ but also allows you to learn a new language.
2. Manage negative emotions
Another study confirmed that the highest performers in the workplace were those that also had a higher EQ score. They also saw that people exhibiting high EQ were able to manage negative emotions: less overwhelmed by what is going on around them, those people are able to get more done.
Mindfulness tools are popular because they aim to improve health and happiness, but they are also great for contemplating negative emotions. The Stop, Breathe & Think app allows you to check in before using it to meditate. It uses your feelings, both physical and mental, before offering exercises or recommendations. This allows you to use any negativity and break it down before carrying that emotional baggage around with you for the rest of the day.
3. Understand motivational triggers
One of the few games where physical skills aren’t necessary are card games. Poker has helped many business leaders improve their instincts and measure their odds in certain situations. With thousands playing online every day, from all walks of life, it’s impossible not to learn from how they play and what triggers their decisions.
Poker is an intense mental challenge, and sites like Redbet offer players free online poker, without risking any real cash, as well as the chance to take it one step further and enter live tournaments. Games like poker are perfect for developing an understanding of how people act and react, given a certain set of conditions and when real money is on the line.
EQ can change over time, which means people can either gain or lose it. Facing up to a situation, especially a confrontational one, is an opportunity to test your EQ. It can take practice, but the benefits include having a greater understanding of what people are saying, not being loaded with negativity all day and understanding when to call someone out or fold your cards.