Education Week: Communication expert teaches seven skills for managing emotions


By Anna Wilson

Editor’s note: Education Week coverage can be found in this section of the website.

Employee engagement and communication expert John R Stoker outlined seven skills to help people manage their emotions during an Education Week presentation. (Anna Wilson)

A communication expert told a BYU Education Week audience on Wednesday that thoughts, words and actions affect emotions.

John R. Stoker, employee engagement and communication expert, taught seven skills that help in managing personal emotions. His series of presentations is titled “Increasing your emotional intelligence to improve your relationships.”

“Personal management allows you to use your self awareness of your emotions to exercise self control and to change your behavior to receive more positive results,” Stoker said.

The first skill Stoker taught was to “separate data from interpretation.” Understanding the facts surrounding the emotions that people feel and then looking for different interpretations from their initial feelings aids in emotional intelligence.

Secondly, “Finish sentences to unlock thinking.” Stoker advised the audience to fill in the blank: “I’m ______ because _______.” He taught that doing this with emotion and reasoning behind emotion helps in discovering and releasing what is going on.

“This has helped me understand the “whys” and realize my own emotions and focus more on fact than my emotion,” said Penni Orchard, who traveled to Education Week from Grants Pass, Oregon.

The third skill taught by Stoker was to “challenge your expectations.” He emphasized that perceptions and expectations can cause and affect emotions. Asking if expectations are realistic or what more can be understood about the situation can help manage emotions.

“Remove and replace” was the fourth skill Stoker taught. He told the audience to detect negative thoughts and then replace them with positive thoughts. Similar to the fourth skill, the fifth skill is to “shift your feelings.” Making a deliberate choice on emotions can change feeling and perspective.

The sixth skill is to “change your words to change feelings,” Stoker said. “Positive words promote the brain’s cognitive functioning which leads to action and resiliency.”

Stoker taught that the last skill is to recognize and retell the rest of the story. He will continue his series of presentations Thursday and Friday at 8:30 a.m. in room 3220-3224 in the Wilkinson Student Center.

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