Interpersonal Intelligence: Definition And Tips To Improve It

The ability to deal with other people empathically can be improved.

The interpersonal intelligence is a concept derived from the development of the theory of multiple intelligences of  Howard Gardner. It is a type of intelligence that, together with the others, empowers us to adapt to the environment and to interactions with others in an optimal way.

Specifically, interpersonal intelligence is that which explains the degree to which we are able to make a rough estimate of the mental and mood states of others. Thus, someone with good interpersonal intelligence is able to grasp the intentions of others, their feelings (which they can express more or less), know what information others lack … and, as a consequence, will interact well with these people, by adapting to them and even predicting certain aspects of them.

See beyond words

It should be said that this ability is not limited only to the way of interpreting the words spoken by others, but also extends to the ability to read facial expressions, movements and even behavior patterns. Therefore, it does not depend only on the information that the other person gives us about herself.

Beyond the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, interpersonal intelligence can be related to concepts such as social skills or  emotional intelligence (in its social aspect, since intrapersonal intelligence can also be included in this idea).

Ultimately, this type of intelligence is related to our way of adjusting to the mind and actions of others and to the way we interact with the people that define us.

What are people with good interpersonal intelligence like?

Based on the above, you may already be thinking about trades and professions that are characterized by exploiting this type of ability. Professionally, these people are usually the ones who offer a part of their added value that is related to their ability to solve diplomatic tasks or related to face-to-face contact with many people. 

Examples of these profiles are commercials, lawyers, professors, public speakers and, of course, psychologists.

Interpersonal intelligence in modern times

The truth is that, in the information age, interpersonal intelligence has become very important both in our personal lives (in which we interact with a much greater number of people than was normal a century ago) and in the  professional field, where diplomacy with different types of agents is almost inevitable. 

That is why it is worth spending some effort trying to improve it. Below you can read some keys to face this task.

Tips to improve interpersonal intelligence

1. Ask yourself what do you know that others do not know

In your interaction with other people, there may be cases in which you make references to facts or things that others do not know. Taking for granted that other people have the same information as you can make the conversation less fluid or even have some uncomfortable moments.

2. Give more credibility to gestures than to words

People can lie with words, but it  is much more difficult to lie with the body. That is why the gestures of the face, the posture and the movements of the head or arms give us information that, on the occasions when it is not ambiguous, is more reliable than that provided by the content of his speech.

3. Think about how they see you

To better interpret what the people around you are doing, it is a good idea to first think about how they may be interpreting what you are doing. Make efforts to keep in mind that what everyone else does depends largely on how you are perceived.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask

Certain relevant aspects are well worth a question. When you notice that there is something that stands between you and others in your communication, consider asking directly what it is. However, it is also good that you ask yourself what possible topics are not good for being attacked head-on in your conversation, since some questions can put others in a violent situation or can hurt someone’s sensitivity when being fully exposed.

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