The Emotionally Effective Communicator

Sunday, August 6, 2023 | 9:00 – 10 a.m.
Adam Timm, The Healthy Dispatcher

Providing service to the public can be an emotional experience. Citizens are angry, coworkers are annoyed, and supervisors are frustrated. Negative exchanges can impact customer service quality and escalate situations. Without the ability to recognize and manage emotions in ourselves and others, we can feel out of control and the job can easily run us into the ground. It may sound like a superpower that you either have or you don’t, but, luckily, this superpower can be learned. It’s called emotional intelligence.

By definition, emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that collectively establish how well we:

  1. Perceive and express ourselves
  2. Express thoughts
  3. Develop and maintain social relationships
  4. Cope with challenges
  5. Use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way

Given the emotional content 9-1-1 professionals handle on a daily basis, it’s obvious, based on the above definition alone, why it’s important to understand your level of emotional intelligence (or “EQ” for short) and how to improve it. Forty years of research paints a clear picture: leaders with high EQ are more effective at empowering their teams; teams comprised of individuals with higher EQ are better at establishing a positive work culture; and high EQ individuals are more resilient to trauma, communicate better, and are generally easier to be around.

The presenter shared research that points to the likelihood that emotional intelligence is the secret ingredient to creating a 9-1-1 center that people want to work for. We discussed the most important EQ skills to devote time to improving, and he shared a simple way to more effectively deliver your message.

By engaging your EQ skills of emotional self-awareness, emotional expression, and empathy, for example, you can understand how your emotions affect the way you interact (emotional self-awareness), you are more likely to be able to understand and appreciate how others feel (empathy), and then align your non-verbal communication with your words (emotional expression). Effective communication requires these skills working together and helps establish feelings of trust, support, and understanding — the foundations of any successful team.

Submitted by Adam Timm