**I have doing research on educational environments for my own kids and found out about Six Seconds.org. Their about page explained “Through 15 years of global experience and extensive research, we’ve found that the scientifically-based skills of emotional intelligence (EQ) are essential for change. These skills are learnable, and predict stronger effectiveness, influence, decision making, health, relationships, and quality of life.” Especially in the age of technology as a key form of communication, I believe that emotional intelligence is an important skill. Better yet, I would like to see that incorporated into more classroom environments. SixSeconds.org is working for the “development of emotional intelligence, a powerful toolset to support people to create positive change — everywhere, all the time.” Joshua Freedman is part of their Global Office Team. I asked him to write a guest post about an exciting upcoming event this June: NexusEQ Conference.
Guest blog by Joshua Freedman
In June, change makers from 12 countries will meet on the campus of Harvard University for a remarkable conference about using emotional intelligence to spark positive change. It’s the 7th NexusEQ Conference; “nexus” means intersection, and the program is about the intersection of science and practice – head, heart, and hands.
Conference participants are leaders, educators, consultants, coaches, and individuals who see that emotional intelligence is the “difference that makes the difference.” The program features 80 experts including top neuroscientists and emotions researchers, business leaders, education advocates, and authors all sharing success stories of emotional intelligence creating positive change.
Why it Matters
Emotions are part of all our human interactions – think of the last team meeting that went awry… or a great plussing session where ideas were flying? How about a recent “discussion” about you kid finishing homework before Minecraft?
Neuroscience now shows that emotions are embedded in ALL our thinking – even something as “pure geek” as debugging code will be influenced by emotion: “Are you in the mood?”
Research on emotional intelligence (see below for the “101” definition) shows that feeling smarts create a host of benefits, such as:
- Greater profitability. For example, an emotional intelligence project at a Sheraton increased market share by 24%.
- Better people leaders. In a recent study, 78% of the variation in employee engagement was predicted by the level of the manager’s EQ (a score of emotional intelligence).
- More collaboration. Numerous studies have shown that the leaders mood affects how team members work together.
- Increased sales. In one study, EQ-trained salespeople earned
- Career success. Several studies have shown that people with higher emotional intelligence are more promotable and reach higher positions.
- Better grades, less drugs. And for those of us with kids, dozens of studies show that these skills increase achievement AND wellbeing.
Emotional Intelligence 101
The first scientific definition of “emotional intelligence” was published by Peter Salovey and Jack Mayer in 1990, where they proposed a simple, surprising idea: Instead of considering emotion as blocking clear thinking, is it possible that, when properly developed, emotions can actually assist thinking?
We’ve all experienced how emotion gets in the way, but what if that’s simply a lack of skill? It turns out that emotions are data, and we can develop the intelligence to use that data effectively – or not. Emotions are present in ALL of us, and they affect us even when we pretend otherwise. So as leaders, teachers, parents, and people, rather than letting emotions “just happen,” it’s in our best interest to learn to use them in a way that’s smart.
Salovey, who is now the incoming President of Yale University, will provide the opening to the NexusEQ Conference where he’ll share the evolution of this science over the last two decades.
Time for Change
The theme of the conference, “Spark Positive Change,” refers to growing urgency to create change in many sectors of society. It’s a sad paradox that the conference is in Boston after recent events there. Around the world, we’re facing intractable challenges in society, between peoples – not to mention economic meltdowns and environmental disasters. We must, absolutely must, get better at creating change.
The conference is organized by a not-for-profit called Six Seconds – which is a world-wide organization researching, advocating for, and teaching emotional intelligence. The network is led by offices in 10 countries, and last year we supported 60,000 people to practice the skills of emotional intelligence.
Our experience and research with emotional intelligence over the last 15 years is that it’s the missing link. We have tons of smart, skilled people in the world. Change isn’t derailed due to a lack of technical knowledge. The challenge is people. Connecting. Collaborating. Getting on the same page. And that’s all about emotion.
Conference Delegations are forming in 12 countries so far. Following the conference, the delegations are charged with a small task: Teach 10,000 people the key skills and concepts from this conference. Put it into action.
Next year, in March 2014, we’ll hold our third virtual emotional intelligence conference, and we’ll get to see the successes from delegations around the world. Then in June 2014, we’ll go to the next step with 1000 meetings around the globe to fuel this movement for emotional intelligence.
Our vision is that 1 billion people PRACTICE the skills of emotional intelligence. Whether you join us at the Harvard Medical School Conference Center or in one of the virtual programs, we hope you’ll be part of it.
DISCOUNT: Early registration is available through May 11. Here is a link to the registration page: http://www.nexuseq.com/
About the Author
Joshua Freedman is a change leader teaching the skills of emotional intelligence around the globe. He is the Chief Operating Officer of Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network, and the Chair of the NexusEQ Conference. His books include INSIDE CHANGE and At the Heart of Leadership, and he is coauthor of seven validated psychometric assessments measuring team and organizational climate, leadership, and emotional intelligence.