At first review – much of the articles around social intelligence included the connections and understanding of social media. How many times have we heard someone, even ourselves, citing our friends on Facebook; when in fact we’ve never met the person? While in part that is a factor, my thoughts today are more about the human connection – not the electronic connection.
We’ve all heard and read and hopefully most of our followers here have a good understanding of emotional intelligence, though it is sometimes hard to describe — like ‘company culture.’ One almost has to share and example to illustrate the definition because it is not automatically clear.
Social intelligence, in my opinion – is how one interacts amongst a group of people. How one relates one-on-one and how one relates in small group discussions (like a networking event). Ah – there’s that intimidating word – networking! Makes most of us a bit uneasy. When you are asked to participate on a team at work, in a community event, in a meeting – these are all opportunities for witnessing social intelligence at work, or not.
Here are a few points to consider when interacting with someone brand new:
- Is your conversation one-sided? Meaning, you were asked one question that led to a somewhat excessive response on your part? Did the conversation end and you learned nothing about the person who was the recipient of your knowledge, expertise, experience – whatever?
- Or, were you mindful to keep your response short and possibly ask a thoughtful question yourself? Showing interest in the person who first asked you a question – shows that you are considerate of their time, and appreciative of their interest of you.
- Were you constantly checking your cellphone, maybe to be rescued from a conversation you didn’t want to have? I’ve seen this too often in meetings and even one-on-one connections. What this says is either your time is far more valuable than mine, or you are bored and disinterested in whatever is being said.
- Monopolizing a conversation – not letting others have the floor – or only talking about yourself. Definitely not mindful of others’ time.
I love quick-witted people (those with taste of course), who are able to respond often with humor or humility to a situation. I’m one of those people who has that 3 second broadcast delay. I get it, I really do – but it make take a moment or two.
When I am about and about in my own business networking activities and events – I am often touched by those who approach me with genuine interest. Those people who are sincere in their conversations and their questions and their understanding of you; and show a real interest when asking follow-up questions the next time you meet.
There are of course those times that some people are ‘picking your brain’ and if your radar is on, you will realize this before they’ve taken too much of your time and energy. As well, those who are in the business of selling 24/7 in any scenario – may be looking for that hook; that one piece of information you exposed that can be capitalized on.
But I’m not thinking today about those scenarios – I am thinking about how to be more mindful in those opportunities we have to connect with people. Consider learning about others’ reasons for being in the same place you are at that point in time. Ask about their prior involvement with the organization. Ask about events/activities that they’ve attended. Keep it business chat when it’s business, until a time when talking personal is appropriate. You may notice someone wearing a sports jersey – of course, that is a conversation starter staring you in the face. You may want to introduce this person to someone you already know at the same event.
Believe me that your being mindful and thoughtful about those you interact with – will show your level of social intelligence. You will be remembered for your kindness, professionalism and approachability. Soon, you won’t have to search the room for someone to connect with — you will be the one searched out, because you have made it comfortable for others to approach you, chat with you and to genuinely connect. Be mindful, be socially intelligent, be authentic.