Social intelligence is a new science that explores and explains various phenomena, from the way we connect with others, how we make friends, to how we influence others. Social intelligence is more valuable than pure intelligence in many ways. Those with a high level of social intelligence tend to be very successful, even with an average IQ.
We all know of a person with a genius IQ that’s stuck delivering pizzas.
Learn how to enhance your level of social intelligence:
1. Smile. Smiling is normal human behavior. Few things are more odd or uncomfortable than a person that never smiles. Smiling puts others at ease and it will even make you feel better. Smile often.
2. Be sensitive to others. It’s important to be able to recognize emotions in others. The easiest way to do this is to study people. Their actions, words, and facial expressions will reveal their emotional state.
- Consider how you would feel in a similar situation. Each person is unique, but we have more in common than not.
- Focusing on the emotional state of others is a welcome break from focusing on your own.
3. Listen. Do you listen when others are speaking, or are you merely waiting for your next opportunity to speak? Others appreciate a good listener. We feel more important and validated when we have someone’s undivided attention.
- Maintain eye contact while others are speaking. Avoid looking around the room or fidgeting. Wait until the other person is done talking before you open your mouth. Be patient.
4. Eye contact is key. It’s much more challenging to read others if you’re not looking at them. You also send a message of shyness or submissiveness if you avoid making good eye contact. More eye contact suggests a higher level of seriousness or dominance.
- The focus of your gaze can also affect the meaning. If you’re looking at eye-level or higher, the communication is interpreted as more formal. Looking at the nose or mouth area is less formal.
5. Learn about body language. Scientists believe that we communicate more with our bodies than we do with our words. While it’s easy to say something that isn’t true, it’s much more difficult to fake body language.
- Watch others and observe their gestures, eye contact, and body positioning. What can you see? Observe interactions between others, but stay out of earshot. Speculate on the situation.
- Read. There are countless books and a plethora of information on the internet about body language.
6. Be assertive without being aggressive. We admire and respect assertive people. It’s frustrating when others beat around the bush or attempt to be indirect. But there’s a difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness.
- Assertiveness is the honest and reasonable statement of your opinions, needs, and feelings. “I would prefer to have dinner at Maggio’s tonight” is an assertive statement.
- Aggressiveness lacks respect for the rights of others. “We’re having dinner at Maggio’s tonight” is an aggressive statement, because it ignores the other person’s right to have an opinion.
7. Actively manage your relationships. Relationships are constantly changing and evolving. It’s necessary to maintain your relationships and make them a priority if they’re going to flourish. This is a part of life that requires assertiveness. Being too passive will eventually lead to challenges.
How high is your social IQ? Social intelligence consists of communication and social skills. Social intelligence is becoming more challenging to grow and maintain due to the increasing reliance on electronic communication. If you’re smart as a whip, but struggling in everyday life, consider spending time to develop your social intelligence.