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Interpersonal Intelligence

Some people have a superb ability to establish rapport with others quickly and easily, making them feel at ease. They are able to read other people’s reactions and empathies. The ability to communicate in this way is a vital human intelligence. Each of us is already equipped with the skills to perform this intelligence. Indeed, we have no doubt supported a colleague or taught a skill at some point in our lives, or perhaps we’ve simply practiced good parenthood. However, we are not all necessarily confident at interacting effectively with others in familiar, casual and working environments – unlike those with a strong Interpersonal Intelligence.

Interpersonal Intelligence may be defined as the ability to recognize distinctions between other people to know their faces and voices; to react appropriately to their needs, to understand their motives, feelings and moods and to appreciate such perspectives with sensitivity and empathy.

The following social skills are those typically characteristic of individuals with Interpersonal Intelligence:-

  • Social Sensitivity - Socially astute, aware and concerned for others

  • Socially Influential - The ability to be able to persuade and influence others

  • Interpersonal Work - An interest for and skilled at work requiring a sensitivity towards people

There are many ways in which an individual can enhance Interpersonal Intelligence – but few of them can be done alone! These skills are worth bearing in mind even for that one off occasion where you may need to solve a conflict, or manage a difficult person. Perhaps you just need to practice your listening skills without interrupting!

Develop Your Interpersonal Intelligence by:

  • Get organized! Use a time management system to make sure you keep in touch regularly with your network of business associates and friends.

  • Decide to meet one new person each day (or week).

  • Join a volunteer or service-oriented group

  • Start a hobby that involves you having to go to a regular meeting of like-minded people

  • Join the Samaritans

  • Spend 15 minutes each day practising active listening with your spouse and children, or a close friend

  • Throw a party and invite people you don’t know very well

  • Take a leadership role – at work or in the community

  • Start your own support group

  • Participate in workshops or seminars in interpersonal and communication skills

  • Have regular family meetings

  • Strike up conversation with people in public places

  • Find several pen friends from different cultures and parts of the world

  • Offer to tutor other people on an informal basis in something you have expertise in

  • Spend fifteen minutes a day just people-watching – on a train, bus, shopping centre or restaurant

  • Study the lives of well-known socially competent people and decide what you want to ‘model’ from them

  • Meditate on your connection with those around you – your family, close friends, work colleagues and community – and eventually, the whole planet!

  • Make a list of all the people that you love and make sure you tell them all this week

  • What’s the most enjoyable way for you to develop this kind of intelligence?

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