A Great Emotional Intelligence Technique

By Mike Shelah

I think most people would agree that society has a fundamental problem with effective communication. I have been on a journey to learn about EI and EQ (Emotional Intelligence vs. Emotional Quotient: the awareness or EI compared to the EQ or ability to act) over the last 12 months and it has been eye opening for me. I am now in the sophomore or “wise fool” phase. I am aware of my problems and beginning to take steps to improve myself, The hardest part to overcome is acknowledging the problems in others. Many of you reading this today, have natural high EI and EQ scores, there are many that do not. The most comforting part to me is having an answer to why so many people walking around (myself included) are so ‘functionally dysfunctional.” We work so hard to appear normal and cope with the day to day, instead of recognizing what is going on around us and taking steps to make things better.


My research on the subject of Emotional Intelligence has led me to a wonderful book by Daniel Goleman called “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ.” In this book he details why people react the way they do in all human settings, personal and professional. For all of the great content ( and there is much of it) I wanted to share one particular tactic he shares as an effective way to communicate with others, simply called “XYZ.”


XYZ is a simple and effective way to deal with every day issues. It works in almost every situation. Before I share the steps, consider this question the next time something makes you: angry, upset, sad, or generates any other strong emotional response, ask yourself this question “Will this matter one year from now?” 90% of the time, the answer is “no.” Then step it backwards, will it matter a month from now, a week, tomorrow, in one hour? Again, the majority of the time, the answer is no. When you practice making this the first question in your head, you will immediately increase your ability to cope with almost any situation ( this is a fundamental to self awareness).You can then ask yourself “what triggered this emotional response?” My mother died of pancreatic cancer in September of 2003, that profoundly changed my life. Ever since her passing, I cry whenever I see a moment on television where someone is about to lose someone they love. I deeply empathize with that feeling and it triggers an emotional response. Once I was able to recognize that for what it is, I was able to endure the moment without lasting negative emotions. Everyone of us has triggers such as this, working to discover yours is a tremendous progress.


Imagine: you get home first and you are cooking dinner for a loved one. They are supposed to be home by 6. They walk in at 6:30, seemingly unaware of their tardiness. Depending on your level of EI & EQ a typical response might be anger “You inconsiderate jerk! You could have called me to let me know you would be late. That’s the last time I ever do anything nice for you!” Ouch, harsh right? Yet we’ve all had a moment like that when we experience an emotional hijacking and say something that we will regret later (or maybe we don’t regret, maybe we justify it, another blog for another day). Here is how XYZ handles the situation:

When you did X it Made me feel Y and I’d rather you did Z instead.

Let’s run this through: I cooked dinner for Mary (not a real person, just picked a name)

Mary, when you were late for dinner, it made me feel unappreciated, I’d rather you call next time and let me know.

This method fairly states how you feel and offers an alternative, more importantly it begins a dialogue where the first one only offers an argument and retaliation


Read the book. The link I included will take you right to amazon so you can order it. Then read all the other books you can find on the subject ( I just got two more in the mail today).

Like, comment and share this post. Let’s get a conversation going with the other professionals in our networks. If you want to talk to me about any of my other favorite subjects like: LinkedIn, Sales, Networking, Public Speaking & Leadership, then feel free to contact me, I am always happy to chat. 443-808-1670 mike@mikeshelah.com

Thank you for taking the time to read this today. Your participation is greatly appreciated.