How emotional intelligence landed Mr Rogers $20 million
How emotional intelligence landed Mr Rogers $20 million in 6 minutes.
By John Greaves, Ph.D.
If your project needed $20 million in funding and you had to send someone to appear before the US Senate to get it, would you choose Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer or the beloved children’s television show host Fred “Mr.” Rogers? I imagine most people would choose Ballmer for his energy, experience closing big deals, and, more importantly, his aggressive go-getter style. Mr. Rogers, on the other hand, was mild-mannered, talked slowly, and the epitome of the nice-guy approach. It’s easy to think his gift was communicating with children, not adults. It’s easy to assume he had no place in the world of money, power, and influence. It’s easy to be mistaken. In 1969, Fred Rogers addressed the Senate for a mere six minutes and ensured $20 million in funding for PBS. How’d he do it? With authenticity and emotional intelligence.
Anyone who is authentic and emotionally intelligent can use this to have great influence over others. When used to influence others, emotional intelligence requires knowing your strengths and your present emotional state (self-awareness); knowing how to manage the moment you are in (self-management); knowing what’s important to your audience and how they’ll perceive your message (social awareness); and knowing how to forge a connection with decision makers (relationship management). These skills can be developed individually through simple practice.
On the 1st of May in 1969, Mr. Rogers addressed the Senate to argue that $20 million in funding for PBS should not be cut. John Pastore, the Senator from Rhode Island who led the hearing, had never seen nor heard of Mr. Rogers’ television show. It took Mr. Rogers just six minutes to convince the gruff and impatient Senator from Rhode Island that the $20 million was well worth it.
How to Influence Using Your Emotional Intelligence
In preparation for your next big opportunity to exert influence, prepare yourself with this checklist of strategies taken straight from Mr. Rogers’ playbook:
1. Understand your strengths and how you communicate best
2. Understand your audience and speak to what they value
3. Make a personal connection with the person you address
4. Remember, the only way to be authentic is to be yourself
5. Stay focused on your message when distracting emotions bubble to the surface
6. Use inclusive language to create common ground
7. Be polite and respectful with questions and answers
In honor of National Children’s Awareness Month, TalentSmart would like to take this opportunity to salute the parents, family, friends, teachers, coaches, and all others who work so hard to help raise emotionally intelligent children.
Jean Greaves, Ph.D.Dr. Greaves is an award-winning author, and CEO and cofounder of TalentSmart®. Her best-selling book is available in 22 languages and more than 150 countries. Her work has been covered by leading publications, including Newsweek, Fortune, Forbes, The Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post
Watch how Mr Rogers made his case using emotional intelligence