Among the attributes that lead to business success, emotional intelligence is one that is often overlooked. But consultants Mike Palestina and Maggie Pazian specialize in teaching people how learning the science of reading other people can lead to better outcomes in the business arena.

Palestina and Pazian will lead a workshop Friday, September 15, at 9:45 a.m. at the Professional Service Group of Mercer County at the Princeton Public Library. The event is free. For more information, visit

Palestina and Pazian are managing partners of the New Jersey-based People Intell Institute. Pazian, who holds a masters degree in organizational communication and dual bachelors degrees in communication and French from Rutgers, has more than ten years of experience coaching and training others in the skills of accurately perceiving and interpreting emotional information. In 2010 she appeared on the Discovery Channel show “Monsters and Mysteries in Alaska” and has co-authored several papers and presentations on deception detection. She is fluent in English and Polish.

Palestina, a certified executive coach and leadership consultant, holds a B.A. in business administration from William Paterson University and is a graduate of the executive training program of Boston University and the American Management Association’s Five-Day MBA.

Founded in 2013, the People Intell Institute lists a diverse range of clients on its website, including BMW, Deloitte, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the New York Red Bulls soccer club and the United Nations. On the company’s blog (, Pazian and Palestina describe scientific research on emotional intelligence, and how it is correlated with good performance.

The consultants quote a paper written by psychologist Carey Cherniss of Rutgers University, who published a study citing a 19-point business case for emotional intelligence. Below are some highlights from the paper that show how emotional intelligence qualities differentiate successful performers:

How well executives handled their own emotions determined how much people around them preferred to deal with them.

The most successful recruiters in the U.S. Air Force scored significantly higher in emotional intelligence competencies.

Financial advisors of managers trained in emotional skills outperfomed (grew business by 18.1 percent) the financial advisors who worked under untrained managers (grew by 16.2 percent).

Employee retention was higher when selected for emotional competencies. In addition performance was significantly better. The executives selected tended to perform in the top third based on salary bonuses for performance.

Accurate self-assessment was associated with superior performance.

One of the things that we often fail to realize is that emotional awareness is a skill, just like technical know-how is a skill that is built over time with experience and training. We can build upon each emotional competency to improve our lives by realizing the impact that our emotions and the emotions of others have on our performance and using it mindfully and responsibly to nurture relationships that are at the core of business, family, and friendships.

There are four skills to improving emotional awareness and intelligence, that leading psychologist and researcher Dr. Paul Ekman outlined in his book Emotions Revealed after more than 40 years of research into emotion. Each of these skills is a piece of the foundation for emotional competencies:

Increasing self-awareness of when we are becoming emotional: One of the hardest skills to develop but also one of the most rewarding. Having emotional self-awareness allows us to build-in an opportunity for choice about when you are emotional. While we cannot stop ourselves from becoming emotional, we can choose how to act and how to channel that energy into a constructive reaction.

Choosing how you behave when you are emotional. Emotional reactions can either be constructive or destructive. While emotions have evolved to help us deal with situations that need quick reaction without thinking, sometimes they get us into trouble. There are times when our emotions get in the way of collaboration. Often, it is only after the episode that we realize the damage they have caused.

Increasing awareness of the emotions of others: Sensitivity to the emotions of others and having the insight and awareness to respond to the emotions of others forms stronger bonds and connections. Both verbal and nonverbal channels offer rich cues to another person’s emotional state.

Using the information we have about others wisely: Sometimes people prefer to hide how they are feeling. Despite their best efforts, emotions can leak — usually through facial expressions. The information provided unbeknownst to the person needs to be handled with care. Responding appropriately to what we see is key. This is where empathy plays an important role and the ability to respond effectively to build stronger and more productive relationships.

The great news is that our emotional competencies can be developed and improved, but the intention must be there. Armed with the four core skills and the knowledge, provides the foundation for immediate application. Increase your EQ and start inspiring.

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