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In the Three Keys to Success philosophy in my book, Key #1, Emotional Awareness includes understanding emotional vocabulary, being aware of your own emotions, being honest about your emotions (to yourself and others) and identifying and empathizing with the emotions others are experiencing.  It’s this last part, reading others’ emotions that this activity focuses on.



Paper and writing utensil for each participant and an internet connection for the Greater Good Emotional Intelligence Quiz,


The Action

Ask your group “How do we figure out what someone else is feeling?  How do we read other people’s emotions?”  The discussion usually includes body language, facial expressions, what they are saying or doing, etc…  Create a dose of cognitive dissonance for participants by asking them how well they believe they can read facial expressions.  Whatever they say, throw down a challenge that they can’t do it better than you!


I give each participant a piece of paper and ask them to number it one through twenty.  Open the Greater Good Emotional Intelligence Quiz For each picture, there are four options. Participants write down the emotion they believe is correct.  They should NOT talk to each other during this phase.  Take a vote after each slide and click on the most popular choice.  When you submit your choide, the correct answer shows up with information identifying the specific facial movements and characteristics that create that particular facial expression.  In many cases, information is also displayed as to why certain expressions may be easily confused with others.


One tip I often offer the participants: if they are having difficulties figuring out what a pictured emotion is, try modeling the face they see.  By making the face themselves, it can trigger a hint of the emotion internally which may give them the answer!


In the end, everyone tallies how many they got correct to see if they beat the Pro (you are the Pro!).



Some follow up discussion questions:

-          What made reading these emotions so difficult (or easy)?

-          Which was the hardest one to identify?  Which was easiest?

-          Why is it important to be able to read other people’s emotions?

-          What are some possible outcomes of misreading other people’s emotions?

-          Did making the face help you determine the emotion?  Why or why not?

Team Building

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