Saturday, 02 December 2023 04:55

3 things people with high emotional intelligence do that make them better at small talk than most

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Emotional quotient, or EQ, is the ability to perceive, manage, control or communicate emotions.

People with a high EQ often enjoy better interactions not only with friends and family, but strangers, as well, says Matt Abrahams, a Stanford University lecturer in organizational behavior. Abrahams specializes in interpersonal communication.

"A lot of small talk is about empathy and being able to connect with the other person, and people with high EQ are able to do that better," he says.

Here are three things people with a high EQ do that make them better at small talk.

1. They validate the other person

They listen and then respond in a way that makes the other person feel understood. And they don't relate the conversation back to their own experience.

"They'll use paraphrasing or follow-up questions to demonstrate 'I heard you and I value what you said,'" Abrahams says.

If a person is talking about their recent vacation, someone with a high EQ will inquire about specifics or say "tell me more." Someone with a lower EQ might start talking about their own trips.


They'll use paraphrasing or follow-up questions to demonstrate "I heard you and I value what you said."

Matt Abrahams

Stanford University Lecturer

2. They mirror the other person

Mirroring refers to the unconscious act of imitating someone else's behavior in social interactions.

A person with high EQ might match the tone of voice or facial expression of the person they are having a conversation with.

3. They use open nonverbal language

Body language can also help convey that you are interested and listening.

"People who have a higher EQ are more open in their posture, they are nodding more," Abrahams says.

They also give more "backchannel" responses, like "uh-huh" and "I see."

"People with high EQ are better at understanding what's important to other people," Abrahams says.

During small talk with a stranger, this proves to be a huge asset.



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