Mother Theresa, Ronald Reagan, Eleanor Roosevelt and Bill Gates are all example of famous people with interpersonal intelligence. This kind of intelligence enables people to understand the motivations and needs of those around them, thereby strengthening their own influence within their culture.
The idea of interpersonal intelligence is derived from Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, which he published in his book "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences." Gardner suggests that intelligence is defined by behavioral criteria rather than a single measurement such as an intelligence quotient, or IQ. He grouped these behavioral criteria into eight different intelligence modalities, including interpersonal intelligence.
According to Gardner, those with interpersonal intelligence are naturally equipped for success in highly interactive roles. These include careers in sales, politics, teaching, management and counseling. These individuals have excellent communication skills and understand how to expand their influence on those around them. They also excel at nonverbal communication, enabling them to perceive the moods, feelings and motivations of others.
Other skills manifesting in those with interpersonal intelligence include the ability to look at a situation from different angles and taking an adaptive approach. Although the theory of multiple intelligences has critics, it is used as a tool for understanding learning styles in some educational settings.