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I have just come across a very interesting blog on Emotional Intelligence, and how it has progressed over the years since Daniel Goleman wrote his book in 1995 “Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ”.  The blog is a very interesting read and rather than replicate the whole of it here, I’m providing the link:

http://intentionalworkplace.com/2013/06/13/emotional-intelligence-20-years-on/?goback=%2Enmp_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1

There’s a great difference in being emotionally self-aware and able to read emotions in others.  Some people I find are good at both, while others are good at one or other.  How confident are you in assessing your own and others’ feelings?

To hone your own emotional intelligence I suggest you try looking at these two things in isolation:

First, find a list of feelings (there’s a good list here by Byron Katie).  Then start to notice your own emotions, pause a review the list a few times a day to increase your own feelings vocabulary.  Once you have done that for a week notice whether you can register and name your emotions more quickly.

Next, focus on other people.  How might they be feeling in certain situations?  Look at their body language, the subtle facial expressions and listen to their tone of voice to help you draw your conclusions. Remember, this isn’t about how you are feeling.  Aim to adapt your responses to how you think the other person is feeling, and if appropriate ask them.  Continue to do this for a week and then assess whether you can gauge an emotion from others with greater accuracy than before.

 

What is great customer service?

Sometimes it is a matter of simply proving the customer with what they want.  Simply?  Well, yet it should be simple, but reality doesn’t always work out that way.  It isn’t always easy to know what the customer wants, and if you take the unusual step of, dare I suggest, asking the customer, you may find that they don’t know either!

Providing what you say you will is a start.  But these days the customer often expects a more personal touch and that can make you stand out from the competition.  And let’s face it, we all like to do that now and again.

Identify what makes you / your product unique

Establish what the customer is looking for – and is there a match?

Do what you say you will / what is expected

Then add an extra, personal touch, which will be particular to you, or the customer

Here’s an example from a restaurant my husband and I visited recently:

customer service

Teaching Chinese

We went to Charlie Chan’s Chinese restaurant in Cambridge where the customer service was excellent… far beyond the normal Chinese restaurant.  Yes, someone took us to our table, took our drinks order and we were left to peruse the menu in peace and quiet until ready to order.  The food met our expectations and the bill came… then the added extra happened.

The waiter asked whether I could read Chinese as I had asked for the copy of the bill to take home.  When I said I couldn’t he proceeded to discuss Chinese characters, the keyboard and how a Chinese computer works out what character you need and then gave us a lesson in drawing Chinese characters.  Something I have not experienced before, I won’t forget it, and we will be back for more food (not quite sure I will pass any lessons in writing Chinese though).

Confidence is often about having the courage of your convictions, saying what needs to be said, in a timely and appropriate manner whilst considering the other person’s point of view.

So what happens when you are challenged, say in a meeting?  Do you stand up for yourself or back down?

During a recent workshop on Courageous Conversations I discussed this with the participants.  Many felt it wasn’t easy to stand up for themselves if the person challenging them was of higher authority.  Here are a few suggestions should you need to stand up for yourself: Read more…

Mindfulness

Mindfulness at Work
www.mindful.org

How important is mindfulness in business?

Having attended a Forward Ladies event sponsored by Barclays I came away inspired, enthused and reinvigorated.  It set me thinking about how often do we do that for ourselves?  Or do we just stay stressed individuals, trying to keep up with the rapid pace of life.  Practicing mindfulness is one way inspiration and relaxation can be achieved, with surprising results.

The two speakers, Deirdre Bounds founder of i-to-i and Sally Preston, Kiddylicious, both agreed in the Q&A session that when running a business taking time out for you (the business owner/founder) was very important.  Their advice?  Book a holiday!  So with the summer months approaching – I know the weather isn’t complying with the sentiment – where and when is your holiday going to be?

When I first started my business in September 2000 I remember people being really surprised that I had already booked a week’s holiday in late October.  It was the best thing I could have done as the pattern was then established.  Over the last 13 years I have taken more and more time out from the business, and the result?  A fall in turnover?  A loss of business?  No!  An increase in both my client base and my turnover.  So much for the addage “I can’t afford the time…”.  You can’t afford not to!  As the late Stephen Covey agreed with his 7th habit “Sharpen the Saw”.

Regular, smaller, timeouts are also extremely important.  I recently came across this post which identifies the benefit of taking time out while at work http://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-practice/a-new-way-to-work? together with the infographic on the mind at work.