Social Intelligence (SI) is one of the complex forms of knowledge. There are a variety of definitions, however, all maintain one commonality: sociability cooperation. Wasn’t it obvious by the title? In this blog post, we will discuss the theory of SI,  key element: S.P.A.C.E., the ways to increase your SI, refresher course, and several book recommendations that discusses the essence of social intelligence (whoops sneak peek). Alright, time to blow some minds away…with knowledge! 

Theory of Social Intelligence

According to Karl Albrecht, Social Intelligence (SI) is the ability to get along well with others and to get them to cooperate with you. Sometimes referred to as “people skills,” SI includes an awareness of situations and the social dynamics that govern them, and a knowledge of interaction styles and strategies that can help a person achieve his or her objectives in cooperating with others. Additionally, SI also involves a certain amount of self-insight and a consciousness of one’s own perceptions and reaction patterns.

Several theorists in the past decade have expanded on Albrecht’s theory of social intelligence in relation to emotional intelligence and intelligence quotient (IQ). Before diving into Albrecht’s theory, we will briefly pay homage to one particular theorist that has imparted his findings in relation to SI.

Harvard Professor Howard Gardner, he presented the idea that human intelligence is more than a single trait or intelligence quotient (IQ). Gardner’s claim led to his “MI” theory, (multiple intelligence), in which there are eight different forms of intelligence. These eight different levels adhere to at least one of the human potentials.

Many researchers now accept Gardner’s proposition that intelligence is multidimensional, and many believe that each of the key dimensions of intelligence can continue to increase throughout one’s life, given the appropriate experiences, challenges and growth opportunities. However, Gardner’s theory, though complete in itself, is actually incomplete on a much larger scale.

Albrecht’s social intelligence theory expands the multiple-intelligence concept (Gardner’s theory) to include another valuable way to observe the multiple forms of intelligence. From his expanded idea comes the key elements of SI, which inevitably leads to finding success at work, home, and beyond.

Key Element: S.P.A.C.E.

Albrecht breaks down SI into five different levels: S.P.A.C.E. From the five levels comes various succeeding effects. Let us first begin discussing the five levels. According to Albrecht S.P.A.C.E. stands for:

Situational Awareness: This is the ability to read situations and to interpret the behaviors of people in those situations.

Presence: This includes a whole range of verbal and nonverbal behaviors that define you in the minds of others.

Authenticity:  This comprises the behaviors that cause others to judge you as honest, open, and “real.”

Clarity: This is the ability to explain your ideas and articulate your views

Empathy: This is the ability to “connect” with others. (2006).

From S.P.A.C.E. comes the positive effects as noted by the professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology, Ronald Riggio. If one were to follow the five steps that comprise social intelligence, they would develop effective listening skills, knowledge of social roles, rules, and scripts, verbal fluency and conversational skills, social efficacy, and impression management skills.

In summation, the key concept to S.I. is essentially being in-tuned with your surroundings, attentive to others, and becoming social through easy communication. Of course, gaining the effects of S.I is easy, however, developing or increasing our SI is not that easy.

Ways to Increase your SI

“Social intelligence isn’t easy to master—if it were, there wouldn’t ever be another awkward conversation at a party,” (Morin 2019). According to Amy Morin, psychotherapist and best-selling author, there are people who find social intelligence easy to master, while other people may find it quite the opposite.

Sometimes we may enter a socially awkward situation, internally confused and panicky, trying to mentally blow through a list of possibilities on how to abort the mission. Or sometimes we may be a wallflower who yearns to become social but lack the resources to become one.

Well, fear no more! After some thorough research, we have created a small but effective tactical plan to helo increase your SI. The best part is that you do not have to immediately jump to become the “queen of the ball.” Here are our tactics:

  1. Pay close attention to your surroundings. According to Morin, “socially intelligent people are observant and pay attention to subtle social cues from those around them,” (2019).
  2. Practice Active Listening. Active listening is where you reflect back what you believe the speaker said in order to ensure a clear understanding. Further, take the time to think about what the other person is saying. Doing so will encourage more thought on your answer, which will surely impress the other person. 
  3. Increase your Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to control emotions in social situations. For example, a person who does not have emotional intelligence would usually express the wrong kind of emotion at the wrong time. For instance, a person laughing at a funeral. Not good. Through the practice of Emotional Intelligence, comes the result of empathy. 

These are our tactics to help you take the first steps in learning social intelligence. Whether at home or at work social intelligence proves to be a healthy practice to mentality, the self, and the emotions.

Bringing it all together

We realized we threw a mouthful of information at you, but it’s alright! You’ll be feeling more knowledgeable than your next-door-neighbor. Just kidding. But you will definitely feel knowledgeable. Let us do a refresher course. 

What is Social Intelligence? SI is a theory proposed by Karl Albrecht, which is the ability to get along well with others and to get them to cooperate with you. Often referred to as “people skills.”

Key Concept: S.P.A.C.E. Learning the acronym results in amazing effects, and therefore becoming a better person socially. 

Tactics. Pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you. They serve as your social cues. Practice active listening. Increase your Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence results in empathy.

Book Recommendations

Here are some book recommendations we highly suggest reading. They not only prove to increase your knowledge of what we discuss, but they also prove insightful. 

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success

Written by: Karl Albrecht

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Written by: Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Written by: Daniel Goleman

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success

Written by: Amy Morin

Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice

Written by: Howard Gardner

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