One of the key elements of emotional intelligence is the ability to listen more closely and respond more thoughtfully.

We have all heard the phrase, “I need some time to collect my thoughts.”  That ability, to slow down the mind, and think, and respond, rather than react, is a critical element of self-regulation and emotional intelligence.

Listening and understanding your emotions and responding appropriately is sort of like a funnel.

First, all information simply comes through your senses.  No meaning has been applied to it.  It’s just raw data concerning what you see and what you hear.  Pay attention and gather as much information as possible.

The second step is interpretation.  Interpretation is the intellectual question why.

Why would a person say this?  Why would a person do this?

Based upon the interpretation, you will have a feeling.  And once you are trapped in that emotional state, it limits your options of what you would say, or what you would do, when you feel like that.

The next step is to select your best option.  To respond rather than react.  So, if you double-check your interpretations, it could have an impact on your feelings, your options, and what you express.

Your professionalism is measured by your expression of your best option.  So, there is a system or process to it.  Listening, understanding, and responding appropriately involves gathering as much information as you can through your senses, then your checking your interpretation, identifying your feelings, considering your options, and expressing your best option.

We all know people who jump to conclusions, fly off the handle, or rush to judgment, without really considering all the information and all the options; don’t let that be you.  Self-regulation is not controlling your emotions, it is simply understanding your emotions and responding appropriately.

If you and your coworkers could benefit from an engaging presentation on emotional intelligence, contact me at, and I will provide an interactive presentation that will bolster your emotional intelligence.