Did you know that there are many different forms of intelligence? When thinking of success in school, most people might focus on logical and mathematical intelligence. This form of intelligence is useful when trying to learn information from a book or make connections between different topics, but it is not the only form of intelligence — and for students who want to excel academically, it may not even be the most important kind. Under the theory of multiple intelligences, there are many different ways to process information — ways different people learn and grow intellectually. Interpersonal multiple intelligence is one of them.

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What is Interpersonal Multiple Intelligence?

Interpersonal intelligence is the form of intelligence that governs your ability to relate to people and manage relationships. It’s easy to notice people who have high interpersonal intelligence — they might seem to stand out in a crowd, have many friends, and easily adapt to social situations. Sometimes, we think of interpersonal intelligence as being like “extroversion,” but these are not the same. Extroverts are people who naturally enjoy interacting with others, but they can have high or low interpersonal intelligence, too. Anyone who wants to can gain greater interpersonal intelligence and enjoy a better understanding of other people, leading to better relationships.

How is Interpersonal Intelligence Related to Academic Performance?

Throughout your time in school, many teachers probably didn’t want to tell you that interpersonal intelligence can lead to academic success — after all, we usually exercise this kind of intelligence by talking and listening, and teachers often want you to keep quiet! However, interpersonal intelligence can be tremendously valuable in college and beyond. You will need a high level of this intelligence to discover opportunities for campus leadership, scholars, and other experiences that can enrich you. Just as importantly, you must demonstrate this kind of intelligence to get other people, such as college professors, to be interested in helping you succeed.

Interpersonal Intelligence Activities

There are various interpersonal intelligence activities that can help you discover this kind of interpersonal savvy. Remember, you can talk and talk forever, without learning more about another person. Individuals with high Interpersonal Intelligence tend to be good listeners who are genuinely interested in other people. They notice things such as facial expression, tone, and especially body language in order to sense how a person is feeling. When dealing with conflict, they try to understand where the other person is coming from before proposing a solution; because of their experience in such situations, they usually have a low-level of anxiety when dealing with different viewpoints.

Building Interpersonal Intelligence

It is normal for many highly intelligent people to have some anxiety in social situations. This anxiety makes it difficult to learn from experiences that would otherwise help you to build interpersonal intelligence. Whether you consider yourself to have a high level of this intelligence or a low-level, you should try to look for interpersonal intelligence activities that fit where you are now. For those with high levels of this intelligence, it may be necessary to look at things like public speaking, acting, and conflict mediation in an environment where you can try new things and learn from the outcome. Of course, an academic improvement program can show you how to relate your interpersonal intellect to your studies without investing as much time or enduring as much “trial and error.”

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Interpersonal intelligence may not be the kind of intelligence we usually discuss when we’re talking about academic success — and you will definitely need multiple kinds of intelligence to really make the most of your schooling. That said, it’s a great idea to build interpersonal intelligence as part of your studies. This can lead to experiences that will strongly enhance what you discover in the classroom. Paired with other forms of intelligence, it can become one foundation for a future as a leader in your field. If you’d like help developing greater interpersonal intelligence and using it to the utmost in the classroom, consider using an academic improvement program.