When you hear the word multiple intelligence, the concept of IQ testing may immediately come to mind. Intelligence is often defined as our intellectual potential; something we are born with, something that can be measured, and a capacity that is difficult to change. In recent years, however, other views of intelligence have emerged. One such conception is the theory of multiple intelligence proposed by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner.
Improving communication skills in the workplace or your personal relationships is one of the most important and challenging endeavors you can undertake.
One of the keys to successful communication understands how your message is received. Now more than ever, we have the ability to communicate with one another with very few obstacles. Conversation, once the sole domain of face to face meetings, phone calls, and letter writing is now affected through a seemingly endless variety of technological methods. An effective communicator needs to learn to cut through the noise created by the overwhelming number of communication channels. So what can we do to become effective communicators, regardless of the method we use to communicate? Part of the answer lies in the application of Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence.
Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is based on the premise that each individual’s intelligence is composed of multiple “intelligences,” each of which has its own independent operating system within the brain. These intelligences include: verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist.
The Theory of Multiple Intelligence states that individuals have several modes of intelligence to draw from to help learn, solve problems and communicate. The primary intelligences effective communicators use is Verbal Linguistic (Word Smart), Logical-mathematical and Interpersonal (People Smart). For these people, communication is an effortless exercise. But not everyone is strong in these three intelligences. The good news is that these qualities can be developed through exercise, exposure and practice.
Why these three intelligences?
Let’s see why these three intelligences are primary for effective communication:
1. Linguistic intelligence, also called verbal-linguistic intelligence, is about knowledge of language use, production, and possibilities. Those with this type of intelligence have the ability to use language to express themselves and assign meaning by way of poetry, humour, stories, and metaphors. It is common for comedians, public speakers, and writers to be high in linguistic intelligence.
The verbal-linguistic intelligence is the use of both written and spoken language for the purpose of communication. Those possessing this are sensitive to the meanings, sounds, and rhythms of words. They love reading, poetry, tongue twisters, puns, humor, puzzles, and riddles.
2. Logical-mathematical intelligence is commonly thought of as “scientific thinking,” or the ability to reason, work with abstract symbols, recognize patterns, and see connections between separate pieces of information.
It is the use of abstract relationships presented in terms of either numbers or symbols. It also includes the use of logic and analysis in the sense of logically organizing an essay or analyzing poetry. Those possessing logical-mathematical intelligence enjoy number games, problem solving, pattern games, and experimenting. They also do well with writing that involves exposition, argumentation, definition, classification, and analysis.
3. Interpersonal intelligence is all about working with others and communicating effectively with others both verbally and nonverbally. It involves the ability to notice distinctions in others’ moods, temperaments, intentions, and motivations.
Interpersonal skills is the ability to understand the thoughts, beliefs, and intents of others and the ability to respond appropriately. Those possessing interpersonal intelligence are social and are in tune with the feelings of others. They make excellent leaders, can help their peers, and work cooperatively with others.
High interpersonal intelligence is often found in teachers, counsellors, politicians, and religious leaders.
The exact combination of intelligence varies from person to person. For example, one person might be strong in the verbal-linguistic and interpersonal intelligences with secondary strengths in the intrapersonal, spatial, and musical intelligences and weaknesses in the logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, and naturalist intelligences. Another person could have an entirely different combination of intelligences.