Coordinating With The People Around You
In large organizations, being a great programmer, designer or writer is useless if you can’t effectively coordinate with the people around you. And in bigger organizations, the people around you can easily become the biggest obstacle to that success.
Knowing how to deal with people artfully, therefore, can easily become a key skill to success.
Social intelligence, like common intelligence, is most likely a mix of innate predisposition and effortful learning.
Some people, like it or not, have intrinsic personalities or capacities that make them more charismatic, likable, and socially intelligent. However, at the same time, acquired knowledge and skill matters as well.
The Cost of Bad Social Skills
Poor social skills are a real disadvantage because this is often seen as a moral failure rather than a merely intellectual one.
Having good social skills is more risk-avoidance than reward-seeking. Having good social skills is about avoiding misfires which cause mutual communication to break down.
Listening Versus Speaking
It’s possible to be good at speaking but bad at listening or vice versa. A key part of effective speaking is understanding the listerners’ states of mind.
Many good speakers fail to land a joke, for instance, because they don’t understand very well how the person who is listening is actually processing what is being said.
Social Skills Are 80% Listening
Listening, the effort taken to correctly understand the social context and minds of other people, is probably more like 80% of social skills, with the last 20% being delivery of your message.
Practice Your Social Skills
The way to improve at anything is to practice.
Feedback is an important mechanism for practice. You try something, you get a response, and you use that response to adjust your output for next time.