6 Essential Emotional Intelligence Facts (You Probably Didn’t Know)

The phrase Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) gets thrown around a lot, but could you tell your friend what it means at a party? In this short intro to the subject, you will learn the meaning of Emotional Intelligence, the twelve elements of being emotionally intelligent, the top educational materials on the subject, and the foremost EQ thought leaders, so you can amaze and entertain your friends with your EQ expertise. 


The term “emotional intelligence” was coined in 1990 by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer.


According to Psychology Today, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.”

It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.

The 12 elements of emotional intelligence

According to Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis of the Harvard Business Review, there are four domains and 12 competencies of emotional intelligence you can master or work on. See the handy chart below to learn where to invest your efforts.

emotional intelligence graph

Top book on emotional intelligence

Daniel Goleman wrote the book on emotional intelligence. Literally. In 1995, his mega-bestseller Emotional Intelligence redefined the way the world defined intelligence. Intelligence was no longer just abstract problem solving, but also involved understanding ourselves and social situations.

Goleman’s book is filled with entertaining case histories about emotional intelligence that help demonstrate the importance of learning to manage our emotions and to understand the emotions of others.

Top video on emotional intelligence

With almost two million views, you can learn a thing or three about emotional intelligence and compassion in Daniel Goleman’s TED Talk: Why aren’t we more compassionate? Or if you want to work on some of your EQ skills, check out these 5 TED talks on emotional intelligence.

Top leaders with emotional intelligence

What does an emotional leader look like? Look no further than Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, or Howard Schultz of Starbucks, who are just three great examples of leaders with emotional intelligence.

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Kyle Crocco is the Content Marketing Coordinator at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau, a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, and the lead singer of Duh Professors. He regularly publishes business book reviews and thought articles on Medium, Business 2 Community, and Born 2 Invest.