We are social beings and often rely on each other’s cooperation in different areas of life, including personal relationships as well as building social networks at work. This social intelligence within each of us allows an individual to form meaningful friendships, alliances, be able to identify situations where they might be at a disadvantage, and find ways to successfully deal with them. Some other common characteristics of socially intelligent people include the ability to understand as well as act on, the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of other people. Hence, it’s a skill you need to boost irrespective of your career and personal choices.
So, How to boost social intelligence? The first step is to build social awareness that comes from paying close attention to what (and who) is around you. To learn this:
1. Try to be more observant.
2. Pay attention to small and subtle social cues from those around you.
3. Try to notice when people enter a room or conversation, who do these people find more comfortable talking with, what kind of conversation is liked by people near you.
Another effective hack is to learn how to play social roles. Social roles are the different behaviors people play as a member of different groups so that they match the expectations and norms of the role as well as the group members and become comfortable with all kinds of people. Therefore, to become a socially intelligent person, you need to know how to play different social roles in different settings. And to learn this:
1. Try to do a role play
2. Imagine yourself in different social groups and imagine the social role you need to play in each of these groups. List out those different roles and observe how much of these you apply in real life.
Bonus tip: Try to observe someone in your life who has strong people skills, and watch how they interact with others, and list 5 things you can learn from them.
“There is something I call social intelligence. You can do a lot in life on your own and you can do all kinds of stuff, but if you’re really bad with people, if you’re really naive or aggressive and push people away, if you don’t know the political environment you’re in, it invalidates all the things you know. You’re not going to get anywhere.”
~ Robert Greene