7 steps to build your social intelligence

Everyone loves to talk about IQ. It’s the raw brain power that knocks our socks off.

But EQ, or emotional intelligence, might be even more powerful.

It provides the finesse to interact with your peers, confidence to pitch to investors and charisma to recruit top talent.

IQ is something we’re born with. But what about social intelligence?

This week, on a solo episode of The Examined Life Podcast, Khe asks the question:

How do you develop social intelligence?

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My top 3 takeaways

Social intelligence isn’t about networking

Much of the talk around EQ can be icky. It can sound like it was taken from The Game or some sleazy sales book. But in reality, developing social intelligence is about our core humanness. Everyone wants to be seen, heard, understood, and loved.

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How do you show up for others?

We’re emotional beings. And we think our emotions only affect us. But in reality, our reactions are mirrors to ourselves. Did you explode at your spouse or belittle a direct report? Your own fear may be the true culprit.

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We’ve lost the skill of observation

Waiting in line at the grocery store, by the gate at the airport, or even in our car during a red light. We ALWAYS have our phones to distract us. To keep us from noticing the world around us. But re-learning how to notice is the best way to learn empathy.

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My favorite quote: Social intelligence is humanness

Understand your own humanness. The beautiful, the terrifying, the mundane. Understand someone else's humanness. The beautiful, the terrifying, the mundane. How do those two interact in a way that is beautiful, in a way that honors one another, in a way that is caring, in a way that shows respect, all while imbuing it with love from one human to another?

Why this episode matters to me

I did really well in High School.

I didn’t have a great college GPA.

But when I got to Wall Street, I realized I was never going to be the smartest guy in the room.

So I learned to rely on my social intelligence. It helped me with colleagues, clients and business partners.

And it didn’t just help at work.

Active listening, understanding decision-making, empathy and (reasonable) vulnerability made my relationships better outside of work, too.

And I hope these tips help you, too.

If you want to dig deeper

I learned a ton about EQ in nearly 5,200 networking meetings and it wasn’t my IQ that got me promoted to managing director at 31.

Want to become a super-connector? Practice those MBIs.

Love letters from our fans

"So good and candid" → Referencing the $40M lifestyle business.

PS — What’s your favorite book to develop EQ? Hit reply and we’ll compile a list.

Hope you enjoy the episode,


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