There is a proverb, if you are the smartest person in the room, than you are in a wrong room, (and you should leave). It means, if you are the smartest, you cant learn anything from the others. ( It seems no one thinks of Machiavellians, because they would obviously advise, if you are the smartes person in the room, so you should stay there, and lead the crowds.)
And what to do, when actually you are not the smartest person in the room?
Psychology Today offers 9 strategies for this case. It’s not often that we’re the smartest person in the room. And when we think we’re not, the following tips can help.
Prepare. If you know what will be discussed, think or do research to identify one or two points that you believe would be contributory. To crystallize your thinking, write it out in 25 words or less.
Be the last to speak. On a given topic, wait until others have had their say. That way, you may come to realize a flaw in what you were planning to say. And if someone made your point, no biggie. It really wise to not worry much about getting credit.
Be brief. The longer you talk, the greater the risk that you’ll diminish your point’s perceived value.
Structure. It’s easier to be cognitively solid if your comment has a structure. For example, make 5 points plus 1 example.
Think twice before insisting. You may be confident that you’re right but generally it’s risky if your previous insisting has often been proven wrong. Even if you’re right, you often pay a price for insisting—increased enmity.
Listen. If you’re contributing little, you may feel inadequate, but even highly intelligent people value a person who listens carefully and shows assent such as a nod of agreement or saying, “good point.”
Amplify. Sometimes, rather than make your own point, it’s easier to amplify another person’s.
Ask. When someone makes a point that you don’t quite understand, consider asking for clarification, for example, “Would you mind re-explaining that, maybe with an example?”
Liberally say thank-yous. “Thank you” is potent, concise, not pandering, and nearly everyone appreciates it.
And what is the take-away? With a little caution, nearly everyone can be respected, even if you’re not the brightest star in the sky.
picture via tumblr.com/salwarremade