How to Raise Your EQ

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Real estate pros with high emotional intelligence—the ability to interpret and read clients’ emotions—tend to do more business. How can you raise your emotional IQ?

First and foremost: Never skip the small talk. “People who have the emotional intelligence to be patient and develop a rapport over things that aren’t critical to the conversation—in other words, engage in small talk—are far more likely to get what they want,” writes Bill Murphy Jr., author of 9 Smart Habits of People With Very High Emotional Intelligence.

For example, a study from the Stanford Graduate School of Business found that negotiators who started the process with a friendly phone call earned better results than those who conducted business entirely over email. Murphy says small talk is important because it generates “convergent responses,” which involves learning more about a person’s point of view so you can better relate to them. “The more convergent your small talk is, the less awkward it will feel and the more rapport you’ll build,” Murphy writes in a column for “Emotionally intelligent people know how to work on it—and never, ever to skip it.”

Murphy says emotionally intelligent people in negotiations can envision the other side’s emotional motivations. Also, they use “we” instead of “I.” Murphy recommends avoiding saying: “I really want us to reach an agreement tonight.” Instead, change it to: “We should hopefully be able to reach an agreement.” This subtle change in language signals commonalities.