The Emotional Intelligence of the Chinese

After a week in Shanghai, I am now in Beijing launching the Mandarin version of my emotional intelligence selling book, Empathy Selling. Great fun and I was asked by Leading Company editor, Kath Walters, to write a blog on the emotional intelligence of the Chinese. Here are some random thoughts.

One aspect of Emotional Intelligence is self-mastery of one’s emotions. The Chinese are often considered by Westerners as inscrutable. My reaction is to the contrary, they are very strident. It may be the language; supposedly there are no tenses, articles or plurals in Mandarin. I can report they have no hesitation in yelling across a hotel lobby.  Self-control of their emotions is not a mantra.

Another good test of emotional control is how people drive. After one trip in a Shanghai taxi you immediately choose the back seat behind the driver for future trips. This is due to two reasons. First, you are absolutely certain you will be involved in an accident the next time you get in a taxi and second, you are sure the driver, because of self-interest, will hopefully crash the taxi on the passenger’s side.

Ever since 1978 when Deng Xiaoping told the Chinese to get rich quick, the Hustler zeitgeist was unleashed. Capitalists have come out of the closet all over China. Even something as simple as buying batteries is a 20 minute negotiation. However surprisingly in the training courses I have run there are few Hustlers in the class. Instead because the courses are in English the participants have been mainly Chinese managers of overseas internationals. Typically they are a combination of Politicians and Engineers who have been sent along by their companies to improve their people skills. The reaction of the participants has been very favourable. I had one young very intelligent manager from Intel come up to me and tell me I had changed his life and that this was the best two days training he had ever had.

Of course the numbers here are mind boggling. You ask a senior manager of Siemens how many people are employed by Siemens in China and he replies 10,000. A manager working for Phillips says they have 9,000 employees in China.. The best reply so far was from the Vice-President of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). This is the organisation responsible for putting the Chinese satellites into space. Supposedly it is now launching one satellite per month. He said there were 30,000 people working for CALT but then he modified that to say he was only talking about engineers! For perspective it is estimated that there are 200,000 people working as engineers (of all types) in Australia.
To cheer everyone up for Christmas, and remembering that Shanghai is one of the wealthiest cities in China, the shopping streets are packed with shoppers, but more importantly they are carrying shopping bags. The shift to economic demand driven by consumers desired by the government here does appear as if it is happening. This augurs well for Australia.


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Chris Golis - Author


"Put in a sales perspective, I loved your presentation! I got a lot from what you talked about and I will read your book."

Peter Morris, Executive Officer, Lomax Financial Group

Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

- Great presentation. Very informative.

- Excellent presentation.

- made me think.

Christi Spring CEO Institute. - web