In 2014, a TV series came out called Scorpion. Named after an actual organization, the show follows the adventures of five individuals who work as contracts for the government. In the first episode, the original four founders of the show are struggling to get business despite their genius level of intelligence. Though smarter than Einstein himself, the main character can’t understand why they can’t get anyone to like them. However, an emergency gives them a chance to show the world their talents, but they can’t do it without the emotional intelligence of the fifth character they meet that day. Though overly dramatized, the show was loosely based on real-life events. Overall, the issue of IQ vs. EQ is spot on.
EQ stands for emotional quotient or emotional intelligence, which is a scale to see how well an individual understands emotions of self and others. Though not seemingly as important as IQ, a low level of emotional intelligence can get you into just as much trouble as having a low intelligence quotient. In fact, Adam Anderson, serial entrepreneur, cybersecurity expert, and guest on our Sales Wolves podcast, has stated that cybersecurity experts get in the most trouble from simply not being able to communicate problems, budgets, and reasons to higher-ups. This, he says, is the greatest threat to security, not hackers or viruses.
Sometimes, the greatest heroes in our lives weren’t the people who seemed the smartest to us, but the people who made us feel better about ourselves. How does this effect our everyday lives? Well, every successful stockbroker or day trader will tell you the stock market is not only about numbers, but about how people feel about a certain stock. In fact, a single announcement from a company can send the stock market spiraling up or down. Such is the power of emotion.
Think back to the best presentation you've ever heard. Likely, it wasn’t a scientist laying out how cicadas live underground for 15 years before emerging (weird but true). Though this might have been the most informative speech you've ever heard, most of the time, dry facts don’t resound with audiences as much as a good laugh or a heartbreaking story. Why? Most individuals do not have high IQ’s, nor long attention spans, so most humans rely on spikes of emotion to keep them engaged. Even news and media outlets know this. In fact, a common slang used in media is, “If it bleeds, it leads”.
Because of the high demand for understanding emotion, you should be putting in just as much time understanding human psychology and emotions as you do learning a new skill or task. All the knowledge or skill in the world is useless if no one wants to listen with you. Therefore, great people and great ideas fall to the wayside and are never discovered. If you want to succeed in business and sales, understanding people is more important than even understanding your product/service. Your product/service should be widely reflective of how well you understand the needs of the end user. Memorization is easy. Socializing is not. Remember, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.