This Day (Lagos)

12 December 2012

Nigeria: Recommending 'Emotional Intelligence' As PR Tool

At the 10th edition of the NICCI Consulting Public Relation Roundtable for top PR executives, held recently in Lagos, practitioners were tasked on the need to develop their emotional intelligence to better understand their working environments.

Just like other skill sets, it has been established that Public Relations (PR) professionals can study, practice and improve their emotional intelligence.

Speaking at the 10th edition of the NECCI Public Relations Roundtable, the Managing Partner, Brandzone Consulting, Mrs. Chizor Malize, who made the submission, stated that emotional intelligence required a deep understanding of the people PR practitioners worked with on daily basis and what they needed from such PR experts.

The roundtable, which was attended by top Public Relations practitioners, from various corporate organisations, including people from banking and Oil and Gas sectors, examined four core areas to EQ, its meaning as well as digging into the core areas and see how a PR executive can exploit it to his or her advantage. The edition, according to the organisers, was supported by Bank of Industries and Megavons Limited.

Malize, who was the lead discussant, further stated that "Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups, adding that it is the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions."

Quoting David Caruso, she said "It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head; it is the unique intersection of both."

Speaking on the core areas of the concept, the brand expert identified self awareness, self management and relationship management as important areas that needed to be mastered in evaluating emotional intelligence.

"As manager of people, we must examine our strengths, weaknesses, capabilities and goals. Key step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them. In many cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions. Put self awareness to control, embrace and manage your feelings and behavior," she stated.

Malize also called for the need for individuals to be aware of their surroundings and people around them, through reading of facial expressions and non-verbal communications to understand mood, feelings, and comfort level of the people.

According to her, when these are captured, one can now be sure of having basic requirements needed to manage a people or organisation, building positive relationships and conflict management. She also pointed out the need for people in the PR department of public and private institutions to understand their corporate cultures.

To buttress this, she said that "PR experts need to engage with people in and out of official platforms. The best insight we have into our own emotional intelligence is the input of other people. If you talk to someone long enough, you can learn what they feel. Listen often and watch the body language."

Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of NICCI Consulting, Mrs. Nkechi Ali-Balogun, had said that the roundtable became necessary in today's market, to expose practitioners to modern practice and allow them share experience.

According to her, "Everything in the society today is dynamic, even a relationship is dynamic, so I can say there is nobody who is not bound to change in any profession. What I just believe in is that, there are new approaches and there are new strategies and there is new vision. Some of the PR practitioners in our offices; either came in as a journalists or they are not PR practitioner or maybe they came as an administrative staff and grow over the years. A roundtable like this will make them be exposed to some important issues in modern practice."

She however admitted that some practitioners have done very much for themselves in terms of personal development or in term of knowledge acquisition in the profession, but added that a lot needed to be re-trained.

A practitioner and Head Consultant at Mediacraft & Associates, Mr. John Ehiguese, in his contribution called for the need for practitioners to always strive to make their organisations understand the value of public relations to sustainable corporate management.

In his own contribution, the CEO of Precise Financial Systems, Mr. Yele Okeremi, challenged the practitioners on the importance of understanding the business of their organisations, which he claimed would make them be able to reach the top.

He lamented the nonchalant attitude of some practitioners towards the nitty-gritty of the activities of their companies, which often make such organisations reluctant to consider them fit to take any top managerial position.

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