Self-Expression is another composite of the EQ-i framework. You can look at it as the flip side of the Self-Perception, and it is about how we choose to express to the outside world what goes on inside ourselves. Self-Expression includes three competencies: Emotional Expression, Independence and Assertiveness. This post is about Emotional Expression and I’ll cover Independence and Assertiveness next.
What is Emotional Expression?
How comfortable are you in expressing your feelings? Is your verbal communication congruent with the emotional messages you send to others? Is it congruent with your body language?
Emotional Expression is about how comfortable and skilled you are at expressing your feelings and thoughts, while adapting to the situation and the people you are dealing with. It includes your verbal language as well as your non-verbal language, which involves facial expressions, tone of voice and body language. In our interactions with others we constantly send out messages at an emotional level that others pick up both consciously and unconsciously. Our brains have mirror neurons which read and interpret this non verbal language at a glance. Non-verbal communication may represent up to 93% of all communication in a typical conversation.
What It Is Not
Emotional Expression is not about talking a lot or creating drama, nor it is about overwhelming others with your emotional stories.
If You Have It
If you have a good level of Emotional Expression you express how you feel easily and others find it easy to read you. You are congruent in the emotional messages that you send to others and you have a good sense of how you come across to others.
If You Don’t
If your level of Emotional Expression is on the low side you may not like or you may not be comfortable sharing your feelings. Others may not be able to read you and because of that may misinterpret your behavior.
One important aspect of Emotional Expression is to develop more awareness about how you come across to others.
Here is an exercise that you can do to help you develop this awareness.
For a week and at the end of each day, think about an interaction you had with someone else and that either didn’t go the way you wanted or that went better than you expected. Focus on what you were saying, the words you were using as well as the tone of your voice, the volume and pace of your speech. Then think about your body language, your posture and your facial expression.
Upon reflecting on all these aspects, what do you think in the way you expressed yourself influenced how the interaction went?
What changes in your Emotional Expression would help you create more of the interactions you desire?