Tuesday, 14 May 2024 04:22

These 3 phrases make you sound smarter and more emotionally intelligent, experts say

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Sounding smart and emotionally intelligent isn't just about the idea you're trying to convey. How you say it matters, too.

People often resort to using complex words and phrases to sound more insightful. This can actually have an adverse effect, leaving the other person to feel self-conscious and judged, according to Stanford lecturer and communication expert Matt Abrahams. Instead, aim to be easily understood.

"The origin of the word communication comes from 'to make common.' And if you're trying to make things common, you really have to put them in a way that people can understand," Abrahams told CNBC Make It in January. "There are a lot of things that people can do to put on false pretenses to try to make themselves look better, sound better, etc. that get in the way."

Next time you talk with someone, try using these three simple expert-endorsed phrases:

'Could you tell me more about that?'

When someone confides in you, especially about something sensitive or important, your first thought shouldn't be to provide your own personal anecdote. People with a high emotional quotient, or EQ, ask questions that make their talking partner feel heard and acknowledged, say authors Kathy and Ross Petras.

"People who lack self-awareness only care about their own thoughts and opinions. But emotionally intelligent people are interested in how others feel and what they have to say," the Petrases wrote for Make It last year.

A phrase like "Could you tell me more about that?" encourages the other person to discuss their feelings and experiences. Then, after you've listened and acknowledged their feelings, you can "make an effort to put yourself in their shoes in a meaningful way," the authors noted.

'I think...'

When you're correcting someone or offering an opinion, saying "here's the thing" come off as offensive and rude, says speech trainer and journalist John Bowe. People with awareness and high intelligence steer clear of these kinds of "throat-clearing statements," he wrote for Make It last year.

"This phrase insists that whatever follows will be the final, authoritative take on the subject at hand," Bowe added. "Even when used inadvertently, it can sound a bit self-important."

Instead, start your statement with "I think," he recommended: "These two words remove any suggestion that you're pompously issuing a declaration."

'Hey, can you give me any advice?'

Counterintuitive as it may seem, asking for advice can make you look smarter.

If you ask an intelligent person for advice, they'll think you're smart for knowing who to come to, bestselling author Joanne Lipman wrote for Make It last year. After all, it takes some emotional intelligence and self-awareness to know when you don't have the answers.

Lipman's advice: Ask a lot of questions and don't be scared when approaching others for pointers.

"One of the biggest obstacles to making an approach is anxiety. It stops us from taking the first step that might lead to a key business contact, a new opportunity, or a romantic partner," Lipman wrote.

After initiating the conversation, "ask follow-up questions that relate to what the other person says, which shows that you are truly listening and interested," she added.



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