Let me ask you a question. Work out the answer before reading on:
How many days are left until January 1st next year?
Go and work out the answer now.
Then read on.
Ok, how did you work it out?
* Open your diary and count the days?
* Work it out in your head by picturing a calendar?
* Talk to someone or ask someone else?
* Write down numbers on a piece of paper then add them up?
* Use a calculator?
* Go through the rhyme ‘Thirty days has September…’
* Just figure it out in your head?
* Google it?
* Use a different method?
There are many ways to find the solution. How you personally did it reflects the way you process information. Do we all process information in the same way?
No. Other people will work out the answer differently to you, and it may be quicker or slower, but it is their way.
We now recognise there are different intelligences that people use when they process information, and if you know which one or two a person favours, it gives you a headstart when you’re communicating with them.
Here are some of the different types of intelligence we use every day:
Verbal/Linguistic: When you read, write or talk, you are using this intelligence.It’s the ability to summarise a thought in just a few words. It’s the most commonly used intelligence in communicating with others.
Logical/Mathematical: If you’re able to spot the logical flow in an argument, or find it easy to use numbers, you have a high rating in this intelligence, which, like verbal and linguistic, can be measured by IQ.
Interpersonal: This is the ability to get on with and build rapport with other people. It also involves motivating, influencing and persuading others, so it’s a good skill for mangers and leaders to develop.
Intrapersonal: This is the ability to be self-aware, and have an understanding of your own emotional inner-life. If you have good emotional self-control, can motivate yourself and like your own company, you can rate highly on this area of intelligence.
Musical: We may not be pitch perfect when singing, but if you can distinguish between the national anthem and ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson, you have a degree of musical intelligence. It may not be as high as Motzart or Paul McCartney, but it still exists.
Visual/Spatial: This is another natural intelligence that some people have without being trained. Some people consider it a gift you can be born with. Can you see a gap between two cars that can be parked in? Can you measure short distances with a degree of accuracy? Then you have developed spatial awareness and can be considered intelligent in this area.
Bodily/Kinaesthetic: If you can use your body or hands in a good way, this is a developed intelligence for you. Dancers, carpenters, footballers and surgeons are examples of people who have developed this intelligence.
Known as multiple intelligences, everyone has developed each one to some extent or other. There are other intelligences that exist and can be developed, like naturalist and spiritual intelligences. What you have to work out is which intelligences your team have developed so you can work with them to create a good development environment.
If someone needs to think things through and write things down before they understand them, maybe they are more kinaesthetic than you. Is there someone in your team who is excellent at accounts and finance, but has two left feet when it comes to dancing and soccer? Maybe their logical/mathematical intelligence is more developed.
By identifying the multiple intelligences we all use every day, we can build better rapport with our team members and identify the way we can use those intelligences best.
So, asking ‘how intelligent are you?’ may not be the right question. ‘Which intelligence is best developed?’ may be closer to the mark.
Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.