Coaches and trainers and coaching often talk about the importance of developing Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) through a range of Emotional Intelligence Activities and Exercises, but finding the right one for your team can be daunting. We’ve curated the best tools we could find from LinkedIN contributors, EQ experts, and consultants, so you have all these resources at your fingertips.
Most Emotional Intelligence Activities conducted today are built upon Daniel Goleman’s ground-breaking work in the 1990s. He explained the importance of EQ and defined its framework in terms of these five components:
- Social Skills
To develop your team’s Emotional Intelligence, consider this range of five types of activities, and find options for each below:
- Self-Asssessment Tests
- Conversation Starters
- Photo IDs
- Role Plays
- Skill Development Games
1. EI/EQ Self-Assessment Tests
An assessment is a great way to start any Emotional Intelligence Activity or Emotional Intelligence Training event. Several self-assessment tests are available for purchase:
- BlueEQ: The BlueEQ was developed by social and behavioral scientists, instructional psychologists, and psychometricians for use by organizations and individuals. It is comprehensive and very well regarded.
- Emotional Intelligence Skills Assessment Facilitator’s Set (EiSA): This EiSA set includes everything a trainer, facilitator, or team manager will need to conduct EI assessments with their groups:
- Facilitator Guide
- PowerPoint Presentation on Flash Drive
- Sample Self-Assessment
- Sample Participant Workbook
2. Conversation Starters
Thumballs – Toss a ball imprinted with conversation prompts and ask recipients to respond to the prompt under their thumb. Emotional Intelligence starts with understanding and listening to those around you. Use the balls to initiatiate get-to-know-you discussions, or talk more deeply about trust, change managment, and common ground. After listening to a player’s response, discuss the unspoken emotions they expressed as they spoke. The EQ Thumball Set has an assortment of 5 balls to promote discussion. If you prefer a deck, the UNZiP-IT! Decks offer similar prompts but are conducive to a quieter activity. And, if you’re working remotely, try the convenient PowerPoint-base UNZiP-IT! Remote Sets.
3. Photo IDs for Emotional Intelligence Activities
- Conversation Decks – Photo Decks offer loads of images that evoke emotion. To build an EQ vocabulary have players select a card and discuss the emotions that it suggests. Favorites include Express Pack, View Changer Cards, and WeEngage Cards.
- Feelings Decks – Innovative Resources has a bundle of card decks, such as Stones Have Feeling Too, The Bears, and Funky Fish Feelings that illustrate a range of emotions. Choose a card and discuss the emotions it reflects. Alternatively, ask players to choose a card that illustrates how they feel now or how they felt when they woke up this morning.
- Assertive – Passive – or Aggressive? – One of our LinkedIN group members suggests, “If you are exploring emotional intelligence in reference to customer service, I have designed an activity of placing images of individuals displaying various emotions and ask the learners in groups to determine whether the image is assertive, passive or aggressive. This social learning activity on emotional intelligence can then be developed for customer service agents by asking how that customer would sound via phone, and how they would deal with those particular behaviours. It always creates a starting point for looking at customer experience.” ~ Katrina Felgate
4. Role Play Dealing with Impulsive Reactions
5. Emotional Intelligence Activities & Games
- EQ GAME – This amazing Emotional Intelligence Activity lets players practice emotional intelligence skills! Players pick an EQ Game Situation Card and read it aloud (the game includes 50 of these Situation Cards). Next, players choose a Self-Awareness Card that describes how they’re feeling. They also play a few EQ Skills Cards (Self-Management, Social Awareness, or Relationship Skills), which might help them deal with the sticky situation. The goal of the EQ game is to provide practice in emotional intelligence skills.
Situation Cards (50/deck):
- Self-Awareness/Self-Management focused situation, followed by 2 questions;
- Social Awareness / Relationship Skills situation, followed by 4 questions.
- Self-Awareness Cards (54 cards)
- EQ Skills Cards (60 color-coded cards for Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Skills)
For trainers who may want a quick activity for a larger group of up to 25 participants, the Situation Cards can be used by themselves. The game has enough Situation Cards for up to 25 people, who can work in groups of 4-6 to discuss the situations described on the cards and figure out the emotionally intelligent way to respond.
Developing Emotional Intelligence Coaching Cards – Developing Emotional Intelligence Coaching Cards encourage reflection and discussion of self-awareness and self-development. Use the deck to effectively develop your team’s emotional intelligence, during training courses and workshops. It includes:
- 48 cards arranged in 4 colored suits to correspond to the Emotional Intelligence model.
- 4 summary cards unique to this product range.
- 3 set-up and suggested uses cards to get you started.
- A unique emotional intelligence matrix direction picture card to illustrate the EQ journey.
- Pocket-sized deck in a protective case to go everywhere with you
Any effort you put in to develop Emotional Intelligence will be well worth your time. According to Dan Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It CanMatter More than IQ, high “EQ” is associated with better decision making and greater profitability.
- Decision Making – High EQ leaders engage their teams more effectively, improve the culture and communication in their workplace, and achieve better results.
- EQ Pays – A study of 186 executives compared their EQ scores with their company’s profitability; the two were found to be directly correlated!
PositivePsychology.com – tons of articles and activities for Emotional Intelligence
Conversation Decks – oodles of uses for photo decks
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