When you hear the term “social intelligence”, what’s the first thing you think of? Someone who has people skills? The ability to apply common sense to the environment? Or a term used by those trying to defend a weirdly low I.Q. score!
According to Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University, we have clusters of intelligences found in six different dimensions: abstract, social, practical, emotional, aesthetic and kinesthetic.
I have to admit, Gardner’s data reads a bit like it was gathered by a friendless Mathlete who is new to Earth and struggling to ask out a girl he met at band camp! But if you can get past all of the seemingly obvious basics about the ability to socialize with other people, you start to see this as an extraordinary valuable foundation of personal influence.
And it answers that age-old question asked by all school teachers with at least 30 years on the job, “Why does the valedictorian always end up working for the kid who made C’s with severe ADD/ADHD and who now seems to own everything in town?”
The ability to read people’s emotions, understand what they value and make sure they feel valuable does not make you a genius. It does, however, make you the kind of person every company needs and an extremely important member of any team.
But the most impressive thing is that this can actually be taught. It is possible to dramatically improve your social intelligence which will allow you to build better relationships and express your ideas more effectively.
When I speak at conventions around the world, I give people the tools that make them better collaborators, leaders, persuaders and change drivers. Which apparently, would also make one very popular at band camp!