The Powerful Connection between Masterful Presenters and High EQ

By Tamara Carrillo McLeod June 1, 2022

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has been said to be the #1 predictor of workplace performance and it’s a skill we all can develop. Several years ago, I was formally certified in all levels of Emotional Intelligence and that deeper awareness around EQ allowed me to discover a fascinating connection – 

The most masterful presenters are those who have high emotional intelligence. In fact, I would go as far as to say that high EQ is the #1 predictor of a successful presenter. 

It makes complete sense why that statement is true. Think about it.  Emotional Intelligence is made up of 4 distinct domains — self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management, and each of those quadrants has a direct impact on our presentation skills. 

Self Awareness and Self Management are the first two domains. These areas focus on how well you know yourself and, for a presenter, this is the key to how you show up in any presentation setting. Do you know how you feel when you are about to present? Do you know what to do with those feelings? How do you manage your nerves or whatever emotions surface as you are presenting? Being aware of your own emotions and having the ability to manage those emotions impact your overall confidence and delivery skills. Without knowing yourself, and how you show up in presentation settings, you can’t successfully master your own self control or connect with your audience. 

Social Awareness and Relationship Management are the last two domains. These areas both focus on how well you perceive and relate to others. Social awareness is your direct ability to read your audience throughout your presentation. Can you tell when people are engaged or bored, and can you sense how the information you are communicating is being perceived by your audience? Can you pick up on all verbal and non-verbal cues that are surfacing throughout your presentation? Relationship management is what you do with the information you are collecting throughout your presentation. How do you engage with your audience? What do you do when your audience appears disengaged or conflict arises? Your ability to manage the audience will have a direct impact on your ability to achieve your ultimate goal.

Remember, unlike IQ, EQ is a skill that can be developed over time. As the beautiful Maya Angelou once said, “’I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In order to reach our presentation goals, we must ensure that our audience feels an emotional connection to us and our content. Emotional intelligence is the key to helping you build that connection to your own feelings and, more importantly, your audience.

So, I will leave you with this last question- What will you do to build your EQ skills in order to show up more powerfully in your next presentation? For some tips and ideas to get you started see our monthly tips below.

4 Tips to Build EQ and Elevate your Presentation Skills:

  1. Self Awareness Before you present, ask yourself what you are feeling in that moment and what is causing that feeling. Then, plan a strategy to help minimize the negative feelings or maximize the positive ones as necessary. 
  2. Self ManagementTake 3 intentional and powerful breaths. With each breath, inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds. Be present and pay attention to how your nerves adjust to the breathing. Make sure to tell yourself, “This is so not about me, I am simply here to share some valuable information that will be helpful to this audience and their jobs!”
  3. Social Awareness Make eye contact with everyone in the room and pay attention to any non-verbal cues you may be seeing. Do people look interested and engaged? If not, have a plan to shift the energy.
  4. Relationship Management If you answered no to the question above, relationship management is your ability to shift and/or manage the emotions in the room. This means ditching your agenda in service of the audience. Be curious, ask questions, and make sure you are meeting their needs. 

Learn more about the connection between EQ and Presentation skills in VOICE- our award winning presentation skills program.