Emotional intelligence theorizes that people have the capacity to reason about emotions and emotional information. People with high EQ can solve emotion-related problems quickly and understand the meanings that emotions convey.
High EQ people also know how to manage their own and others’ emotions. They understand that a happy person is more likely to accept a social invitation than one that’s morose. EQ doesn’t mean being an unfeeling robot, it means managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively. It means handling interpersonal relationships fairly and with empathy. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social situations, make personal decisions and work with others toward common goals.
Professional designers have strong skills in designing mockups around use cases and scenarios, going beyond just features to full workflows to create an optimized experience. While the result reduces friction in real experiences, emotional intelligence is needed to take the work to the next level. Delightful experiences require the addition of desired emotions to the design process.
When you have emotional intelligence, you’ll listen carefully to the client’s needs and create a design that enriches the end user’s experience. You will also embrace changes and show empathy if the client’s website visitors respond negatively to some aspect of the design.
Enhancing Our Design Process
EQ is also about enhancing our design process. It can enable us to be better designers, better listeners, better collaborators who shepherd and champion great design.
Empathy is crucial to those in a service oriented industry. It helps us anticipate, recognize and meet the needs of clients.
If we can view the design challenge from another’s perspective, that of a collaborator or a client, we are likely to come up with better solutions.
EQ can enable us to ask more questions, listen more closely, and elicit more honest answers from clients about who they are, what they want and issues that are important to them. Designers need good social skills to navigate the political sensitivities within organizations, their own, the clients, partner companies. Designing spaces often means being agents of change management, another opportunity to use our social skills to our client’s benefit. In a world in which technology and its associated skills are constantly changing, good people skills are only going to become more important.
Most of us encounter unreasonable people in our lives. We may be “stuck” with a difficult individual at work or at home. It’s easy to let a challenging person affect us and ruin our day. What are some of the keys to staying proactive in such situations? Here are three quick tips:
A. When you feel angry and upset with someone, before you say something you might later regret, take a deep breath and count slowly to ten. In most circumstances, by the time you reach ten, you would have figured out a better way of communicating the issue, so that you can reduce, instead of complicate the problem. If you are still upset after counting to ten, take a time out if possible, and revisit the issue after you calm down.
B. Another way to reduce reactivity is to try to put yourself in the difficult individual’s shoes, even for just a moment. For example, consider the person you’re dealing with, and complete the sentence: “It must not be easy….”
Most of us experience some level of stress in life. How we handle stressful situations can make the difference between being assertive versus reactive, and poised versus frazzled. When under pressure, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep our cool. Here are two quick tips:
A. If you feel nervous and anxious, put cold water on your face and get some fresh air. Cool temperature can help reduce our anxiety level. Avoid caffeinated beverages which can stimulate your nervousness.
B. If you feel fearful, depressed, or discouraged, try intense aerobic exercises. Energize yourself. The way we use our body affects greatly the way we feel. As the saying goes – motion dictates emotion. As you experience the vitality of your body, your confidence will also grow.
Whether a beginner or a veteran web or graphics designer, criticism is never welcoming. After you invest hours into a project, it can be extremely stressful when a customer tears down your design. When that happens, you have two options: let your emotions get the best of you or analyze the situation and learn from it.
So when you’re on the receiving end, whether the delivery is ideal or not, use the feedback to help improve your design. Don’t close your mind to negative feedback, but put your personal feelings aside and draw from the experience by examining what the client is dealing with that you don’t see.