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It has been observed in several studies that people with high Intelligent Quotient (IQ) can have low Social Intelligence Quotient (people skill). It is very possible to know so much intellectually, yet be very poor in communicating what you know or lack the ability to convey information. Very often, this poor sense of communication and socialization has been at the centre of so many conflicts, large or small, in our society today. So what is Social Intelligence (SI)? Social intelligence can be defined as the ability to understand people and how to skillfully interact with them successfully. Studies show that people with good social skills are more likely to succeed in public and private life than people with high IQ, but poor social skills. People with good social skills stand a better chance to close more sales, win an election, win more contracts, grow an organization, and start a happy family, etc. than an average person. In this article, we shall look at 6 ways to develop your social intelligence.

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1. Learn to be observant

The first step towards becoming socially intelligent is by paying attention to your surroundings. Socially intelligent people pay close attention to every detail that happens around them. They study people’s emotions and how they react to socio-political, economic and cultural matters in society. They observe the words and actions of the people around them and take time to understand the reasons for their actions.

2. Evaluate your feelings

Self-awareness is another vital step towards boosting your social intelligence. Social intelligent people understand their emotions and feelings. They understand what triggers and stabilizes their emotions, and act accordingly. They are good observers of their strengths and weaknesses; likes and dislikes. They are aware of physiological cues such as their heartbeat, perspiration and respiration. This helps in taking control of their emotions.

3. Practice active listening  

Another step towards developing your social intelligence is by developing your communication skills, which requires active listening. When having a conversation with people, don’t be in a hurry to speak, be attentive and capture every detail and gesture. Think through what is being said before responding. Study the tone in which the conversation flows so that you can correctly interpret the emotions and act accordingly.

4. Be Open-Minded

Socially intelligent people are open-minded. When they socialize, they are open to new ideas, new knowledge, and they are always willing to teach and more willing to learn. People who are not socially intelligent are narrow-minded, opinionated, and argumentative. The reason for their conversation is to impose their own ideas and ignore the ideas of others. However, having an open mind informs you that people act the way they do due to their cultural background, faith, family, and social background. In an attempt to be open-minded, you shouldn’t simply embrace any idea that is presented to you, rather the goal is to find a common ground to connect with people of different persuasions.

5. Value Important People In Your Life

Another step towards social intelligence is having a deep sense of worth towards people who mean so much to you. For example, spend time with your spouse, children, or partner. Pay attention to the emotions of those close to you, including your neighbours and co-workers. Learn to compliment easily, correct gently, and give gifts from time to time. When you carry a feeling of warmth around you, the people close to you can easily open up when the need arises.

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6. Create a Sense of Empathy

When dealing with people have a sense of empathy. Put yourself in their shoes. Understand their past and prevailing circumstances, which might have influenced or still influences their decisions. Avoid being unnecessarily judgmental when dealing with people. Understand their constraints, human complexes, preferences, priorities or aspirations. When you see people in the light of these issues, it can help you to choose the right words, the right gestures and give the right flow of emotions.



Social intelligence is a people skill that is very relevant in our today’s world. It is among the leading skills needed in the workplace, according to studies. Developing and having this skill can guarantee success in both private and public life.

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This article was first published on 6th August 2021 and updated on August 7th, 2021 at 1:15 pm


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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