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Sharpening Emotional Intelligence - Let's Discuss the Best Ways

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 8, 2021, 6:40 pm
Quote from John Freeman on February 8, 2021, 2:40 pm

That is the added value where your site and your approach is putting you in the World-class category.

If you continue to focus on that, nobody else will be able to catch up with you.
Using the 3 pillars of learning and this realization is a unique value proposition that makes your website even more unique.

Example. 1. What is emotional intelligence? 2. What are the skills of emotional intelligence? 3. How to learn the skills of emotional intelligence. And then to close the loop on the experiential part: the forum. Recipe for success.

Thanks, John!

Yeah, it's the connection between emotional intelligence and social skills / strategies that is crucial.

That's what allows people to get a good read, to get the feel for the interaction.

Such as:

  • Are they empowering me, or disempowering me
  • Are they giving value, or taking value
  • Are they being friendly or rude
    • Were they rude because they're clueless, or because of character
  • Do they need help and support, or are they good (the example in PU of Taxi Driver where the guy misreads the cry for help)

Etc. etc.

That's the bedrock.

Once you have that "feel", then you're in good shape, and understanding all the strategies and techniques comes far more natural.

Strategies and techniques without the "feel", it's still helpful.
And the techniques and strategies, indirectly, can also help get that feel -and even more so for the more natural, more hard working students-.

But it's still best to start with the foundations. Otherwise, it leads to a more "robotic" application, which is something Ali was mentioning some days ago.


So there is that "connecting link" missing.

The EI/social intelligence that provides the feel for the interaction.

This realization was both an opportunity -both to add value and from a business perspective-, as well as a setback on my work-goal.

I was aiming with PU to deliver a product to go from A to Z, at least 70-80% of Z, when it comes to more advanced social skills, social strategies, and power dynamics.

Personally, that also meant that I was a good point on my life-goal.

But the realization that emotional and social intelligence are the foundations, and that some -many, actually, it might be the majority- people are missing those, it means that PU remains a more "advanced" course, so it's more like "D to Z".

That ABC of the puzzle is missing.
I'd be happy to tell people "go to this course / book" before you start here, as that would allow me to focus on the power dynamics aspect alone.

I'm still hoping to find such a thing around.

If it's not there, then it means I might have a bigger project to tackle.

I am quoting this post because it is eye-opening for discussion.

Main Takeaway of this Post

To me, the connection between emotional intelligence and social skills & strategies is about intuition.
People who are good at developing intuition understand the process of learning. (Check out this post on How to Learn & this thread)

What Does That Mean For You?

In a way, this means that there is no shortcut.
We all know people who learn super fast.
Talent is an aspect.
I would argue the discipline, consistency, dedication, open-mindedness, growth mindset, anti-fragile ego all play a huge part as well.
And the good news?
All of the above are trainable.

My Personal Interest in the Subject

I am personally very interested in the process of learning.
Arguably since I was young.
To a large degree, I exercise and sleep well because I want to learn better. (Of course, they impact all other areas)

I even proposed Learning University : )

Learning Emotional Intelligence Could Be Quite Different From Learning Other Subjects

Learning the "feel" of power dynamics and social situations can be very different from learning other subjects.
Although I believe that the skills of "how to learn" is transferrable to every aspect of life and topic.

In a large part, learning to get a feel of power dynamics is understanding that the general rule does not always apply.
And also that your gut natural instinct to respond in a certain way may not be the best response as you are learning.

If Practising a Skill is Difficult, Getting Good is Difficult

There are many areas where you can go monk mode to master the topic.
True focus and dedication.
However, power dynamics is something that you need to study alone and with people.
With people meaning that you need to discuss and also play out & testing those tactics & strategies.

I would argue that the most challenging part of getting good at power dynamics is how to practise.
It is not easy to curate a practice session in power dynamics to hone a specific skill.
Defining a skill in power dynamics is also challenging.
The grey nature of power dynamics makes tracking your progress, defining skills, and curating practice sessions challenging.

I proposed a product management approach.
In a way, learning power dynamics effectively has the same level of challenge as building a new product/service that the market needs.
Your intuition is in a way the solution to the type of social situations that you would like to succeed in life.
And, as we know, the best intuition, just like the best product, does not always win.

MMC has reacted to this post.

Hello Matthew,

what do you mean by “intuition”?


Great post, Matthew.

Yes, definitely, to actively train social and power dynamics requires you to interact with people.

Other good ways:

  • The quizzes on PU: some of those quizzes help sharpen the "feel" for social interactions
  • WIIFT analyses: a thread I still believe is underrated, and there are some good analyses more from a social exchange point of view
  • Journaling: writing down your own interactions, which serves to gather more from first-hand experience and observation
  • Many threads on this forum: there are many threads with social analyses already
Matthew Whitewood, Transitioned and Alex have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodTransitionedAlex
Community, new content and Charisma University moved here.

WIIFT analyses: a thread I still believe is underrated, and there are some good analyses more from a social exchange point of view

Now that I look at this thread.
It is very underrated.
I get a feeling that I understand why.

It's a bit dense with one example after another.
I think my brain instinctively thinks

"hmmm, hard to follow compared to the threads with one title and examples with similar nature".

I'll be looking at that thread.
Lots to learn in terms of the social exchange theory since lots of emails are cold outreaches.
And what better way to learn about cold, hard transactional social dynamics with cold outreaches.

The interesting part is how people can twist & turn requests into doing you a favour sometimes.
Which is what social scalping is about.

what do you mean by “intuition”?

Intuition means you don't have to carefully think about the response to choose your behaviour.
Chess grandmasters roughly know the good moves without any calculation ahead.

Quote from Matthew Whitewood on February 9, 2021, 3:12 pm

Intuition means you don't have to carefully think about the response to choose your behaviour.
Chess grandmasters roughly know the good moves without any calculation ahead.

I use the same definition. Some people have another.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on June 16, 2021, 6:10 pm from How to Gain Power in Group Conversations

Matthew, I gotta say:

You do have a special ability and skill to connect similar concepts together.

I think actively trying to link concepts together helps build my intuition for social skills and power dynamics.

From the book Peak on mental representations,

Skills Are Based On Mental Representations

Anders Ericsson spends a lot of time on the concept of “mental representations”.

It’s difficult to define them because they differ dramatically from field to field, but in essence, the author says:

Pre-existing patterns of information, facts, images, rules, relationships and so on. They are held in long-term memory and can be used to answer quickly and effectively in certain types of situations.
They make it possible to process large amount of information quickly (despite the limitations of short-term memory)

Mental representations allow for:

  • Pattern recognition
  • Effective information handling
  • Quicker reaction times and problem-solving

Deliberate practice builds better and better mental representations by changing the neuro-circuitry in the brain.
What sets experts apart is the quality and quantity of mental representations.

Mental representations are very domain-specific, and that’s why deliberate is not for everyone. Some of the skills you build might not be very transferrable to other domains of life.

I think what we are doing on this forum is a form of deliberate practice.
But, for myself, randomly analysing social situations when they come up do not really build my intuition so well.
I feel the need to abstract and link to make sense of a new concept.

The different scenarios with similar concepts are a form of repetition to build a certain mental representation of vibing for example.
One single post is not enough so I find other situations to link with and analyse for practice.

  • Journaling: writing down your own interactions, which serves to gather more from first-hand experience and observation

Journaling here is great :).
Because I can utilise not only my own experience, observations and analyses but also the people who are keen on improving in this area.

Thoughts on More Effective Practice

I was thinking about how to practise power dynamics in a more focused manner.
Maybe what I need to do is to observe 1 point which I want to improve upon.
Then just focus on improving that.

Or a few points because different social situations appear every day and some interesting stuff outside your focus may pop up from time to time.

The challenge is that power dynamics often have grey areas and lots of exceptions.
So it becomes more challenging to scope out an area of focus for practice.
And it may be unwise to do so because you may be introducing mental biases or an overly narrow way of looking at social situations.

Personal Example

Learn when to use more direct assertive techniques (more confrontational) vs tiding over smoothly with collaborative & goal-oriented frames (smoother socially , less confrontational)

  • Write down how you would think it would go over with both ways
  • Think about the effects of both techniques and examine which is better for a situation
  • Get feedback (e.g. on this forum)
  • Discuss & reflect
Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Great post, Matthew.

Since this forum has gone live, one of the biggest takeaway for me was that "emotional intelligence" might be the biggest single foundation-level competence.

And the one that is most commonly overlooked.

You can't get into more advanced stuff like career strategies, seduction, relationship development, social-circle formation, status acquisition etc. without that foundation.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Community, new content and Charisma University moved here.

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