Interpersonal skills are now some of the most in-demand attributes in business, especially when it comes to managers. This quality, which for some people can be intuitive, can, fortunately, be learned quite easily but requires the right mentality. Many assets are important if you want to develop your social intelligence, such as listening, mutual respect, adapting to context and clarity of message.
Let's take a look together at the three key points to focus on to improve your social intelligence.
To start from a good base, first you need to observe. It is important to analyse the context, people, relationships between these people, and the social rules that govern the place where you are.
Observing the non-verbal language of the people in a room gives you a huge amount of information about the emotional context you find yourself in. Are their arms and legs crossed or open? Is their eye contact evasive or direct? This will make it easier for you to adapt your attitude and behaviour to the person (or people) you are dealing with.
Observation is an essential step in the development of your own social intelligence. Once you know different people's objectives, motivations and needs, you will then be able to adapt in order to communicate effectively with them.
Finally, this first phase will enable you to review the social rules that govern the situation. In a professional setting, these may be factors such as the company's practices, dress code or hierarchical rules.
Next, you need to show empathy towards the different employees at the company. We are not talking here about being an emotional sponge, but rather about putting yourself in other people's shoes to understand how they are feeling. Don't forget that everyone feels emotions differently. Be careful about the words that you use so as not to fall into the trap of differing perceptions.
To make the other person feel comfortable, and fully open up to you, you can adapt your level of language to theirs, or even synchronise your approaches to each other. For example, if one of your colleagues behaves in a certain way, you may want to adopt the same behaviour. This will establish more of a connection. This is what we call 'empathetic' language.
Always respect others' opinions, even if you disagree with them. Always feeling the need to show that you are right can often be perceived as aggressive. Instead, you should always be respectful. Avoid any hasty judgements, in keeping with your own values, and don't make generalisations.
Also, try to ensure clarity when you speak. Your messages will, therefore, be conveyed and interpreted correctly.
Did you think charisma was an innate quality? Think again! It is developed throughout your life. Working on this asset will increase your authenticity and improve your communication skills for conversations.
There are several keys to developing your charisma such as listening to others without interrupting, giving your opinion without trying to get the other person to completely agree, being sincere, admitting your mistakes, but above all... smiling! Having a smiling personality helps you appear more welcoming and shows that you are self-confident.
Charismatic people have special aptitudes in their professional lives: they are able to influence others, and are very often well-liked, or even admired!
These three points - observation, empathy and charisma - are obviously not the only factors to be taken into account. Starting to work on these three, however, will very quickly bring results in your relationships with others. You will see that they are also interdependent: you will notice progress at every level if you increase one or the other.
Remember to practice on a daily basis!
For further reading on this subject, see our ebook, available here.