Socially Intelligent People


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Daniel Goleman has stated in his book “Social Intelligence” that the worst side of human nature is the toxic form it can take by just being around the wrong person at the wrong time. This extremely popular book was influential in bringing a sea of change in the way companies viewed the roles of employees in the company.

Employees were earlier treated and looked as service-providers, however, now the employees are treated like an organization’s key assets. These changes have come due to the companies’ adopting the applications of Social Intelligence in their day-to-day lives in workplace.

According to SI experts, no two humans have an identical interpretation of the same word. The word ‘car’ might bring the mental image of a Barracuda for someone, while someone else could imagine an Aston Martin. Human beings respond to words through the inputs they get and their own sensibilities.

In many situations, the messages are sent via postures, movements, gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice. For example, if you were to walk into a conference room where a meeting is on the way, you can easily be able to figure out who the influential people are and who are the subordinates by simply observing their way of sitting, the way people respond to them, the way someone stands or maintains eye contact, etc.

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The manner in which a person can influence others through his physical appearance, mood, body language, even the space he occupies in the room has a bearing upon the others and are clues to the way the person desires to be talked to, listened to, and respected.

Many tend to believe that only good looks and good clothes are sufficient to send a suitable message across, however the physicality of a person bears huge significance on the way he portrays emotions of friendliness, effectiveness, assurance, kindness and empathy. They need to project an inviting personality that dispels the initial hiccups in the mind of a person while approaching them.

When people sense hostility or are themselves unwilling to accept a decision, they start sending subtle, sometimes obvious, signals through their body language. These signals are found to be in direct conflict to the put-on neutrality they try to portray in their speech. People are quick to observe if a person has a salesman smile, i.e. insincere smile where he is trying to be too friendly, as opposed to the normal behavior.

Putting it differently, you could say that the person will give off the air of not being authentic. Authenticity is different from being merely honest and true. An authentic person is someone who also portrays genuine emotions for people and wants to really help others. Just having a good smile and good personality is not sufficient if a person is not authentic. Therefore, a person who has good social skills might not be able to impress upon people if he is not socially intelligent.

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Socially intelligent people also know the difference between people who are genuinely hurt, and those who are looking for an excuse to make you feel bad for hurting them. These people have low self-esteem and love playing the victim card. They believe that by complimenting others, they degrade themselves, hence they enjoy making people fall for their guilt trap. For example, if you confront these people on their poor performance, then these kind of people will often come up with a left-handed comment like, “how could you say that after all that I have been through in my life recently?”, clearly trying to attach their issues in family life to their drop in productivity at the workplace.

A socially intelligent person knows that empathizing with them is just feeding to their negative self-esteem, hence he will steer clear of getting too involved in giving suggestions to them. On the contrary, he will stick to the point and send polite reminders about the work that needs to be done.



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