Are You an Emotionally Intelligent Event Professional?

Skift Take

Emotional Intelligence is getting a lot of exposure these days. Many believe it’s even more important than raw intelligence. But how emotionally intelligent are you? Ask yourself these questions to get a better idea.

Psychology Today defines emotional intelligence (EI) as “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others”. Many people regard high emotional intelligence as a critical trait to have in leadership positions across many industries. But how do you know if you have it? Don’t most of us consider ourselves good with people? Why would we be drawn into a people-focused profession like event planning if we weren’t?

Yet, there’s a big difference between how some of us see ourselves and how others do. If you want to figure out whether you are an emotionally intelligent event professional, ask yourself these questions:


11+ Questions to Discover Your Level of Emotional Intelligence

These questions are by no means going to provide a scientific calculation and give you a score the way a traditional IQ test would. However, they can help you gauge your level of emotional intelligence (EI).

Those with high emotional intelligence are able to:

  • Cultivate emotional awareness.
  • Harness emotions to use them in tasks like problem-solving.
  • Manage emotions, including their own as well as others, by doing things like cheering them up or calming them down.

The Harvard Business Review breaks it down further into four key competency areas. These include:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

But these words can be just words if you don’t adapt them to scenarios or think of them in context. So here are a few leading questions to help you start a personal emotional intelligence assessment.

  1. If your staff member suffers a personal setback, is your tendency to just wish they’d get over it or do you feel for what they are going through?
  2. Do you have a positive outlook when it comes to your business, career, or your events?
  3. If a vendor or attendee angers you, are you likely to take a defensive position or try to figure out where they are coming from and what would cause them to have that opinion?
  4. Do you know how to cultivate influence among your peers or staff?
  5. Do you handle conflict management successfully where both parties feel like they’ve gained something? Can you think of a time when you had to get involved in conflict resolution? How did it go?
  6. How would you rate your staff’s level of teamwork? Is it something they excel in or not? What role do you play in fostering it?
  7. Do you think you inspire your team? Do they look up to you? Why or why not?
  8. Have you always had lots of followers or friends, not the Facebook kind?
  9. Do you promote creative problem-solving or do you believe there are only 1-2 established ways of approaching an issue?
  10. How do you make your staff, exhibitors, vendors, and/or sponsors feel supported?
  11. What goals do you have for your team?

These questions aren’t designed to give you the answers but do lead to discussions you could have with your team. They also speak to areas in which people with high EI do very well.

Now let’s explore your own emotions and those around you and how they apply to your event planning career. How many of these describe you?

  • I know why I feel the way I do most of the time.
  • I understand the source of my feelings.
  • I always know whether I am happy or not, personally and professionally.
  • I set goals for myself and achieve them regularly or learn from the experience.
  • I am self-motivated.
  • I believe I am competent and always encourage myself to perform at top levels.
  • I can behave rationally even when my emotions want to react differently, such as remaining calm when I want to scream.
  • I am able to calm down quickly.
  • I know how my attendees, vendors, and suppliers are feeling by the way they are acting.
  • I understand why they feel that way.
  • I am observant and notice changes in body language.
  • I know what those changes in body language mean.

If you answered yes to most of these questions or found these to be true statements about you, you probably have a fairly high emotional intelligence. If not, these are things you can easily work on because they require internal changes.

Hiring People with High Emotional Intelligence

Not only is it important to develop your own EI, it’s critical to the success of a people-driven business to employ team members with high EI as well. If you take the time to scout them out by asking the right questions, your team and morale will be the stronger for it.

In order to do this, don’t get bogged down on the regurgitating of the resume questions. Instead, ask ‘what if’ scenarios that apply to the position or ask for examples of ‘a time when…’. These types of questions will give you insight into their thought process and problem-solving abilities.

Other good questions include:

  • Who inspires you and why?
  • What values are important to you in a company?
  • Why were you drawn to event planning?
  • If we had to shift the direction of an event at the last minute and you were the lead on it, how would you rally the team to make the change?
  • What skill or professional talent do you think you’re missing?
  • Here’s a smartphone. Pretend I’ve never used one. Tell me how to make the most of it at your event. (Nothing like getting to the heart of what they’ll deal with.)
  • What are the top three things that have made you the success you are today? What will you need to cultivate to continue that success?

These questions aren’t easy. Maybe there are some that stumped you about yourself. If that’s the case, take the time and answer them. You might discover something surprising or an area for improvement.

In Conclusion

Emotional intelligence is one of the most sought-after skills out there but unlike traditional intelligence ratings, it is not immovable. If after taking these mini-quizzes you feel you didn’t score as highly as you’d like, you can address the issues at hand and improve your emotional intelligence.

And since event planning is a people-based business, improving your EI is one of the most important things you can do for your career.

Additional Resources about Emotional Intelligence and Soft Skills in Event Planning

4 Traits of Event Planners with HIgh Emotional Intelligence
4 Criteria to Measure Event Emotional Value
15 Trick Questions Event Planners Ask Attendees