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How to Tell If a Person Is Smart in 3 Minutes or Less

How to Tell If a Person Is Smart in 3

We’re not here to discuss the intricacies of intelligence or what makes someone smart, so let’s just get that out of the way.

Yes, we know that things like I.Q. are controversial. And yes, we know that intelligence can be defined in many ways. Yes, our current methods of measuring intelligence need to change.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Some people are smarter than others. And, sometimes, we need to be able to tell if a person’s smart.

Maybe we’re a business owner and need to hire a sharp mind. Perhaps we’re looking for the best and brightest doctor to keep us healthy. Or maybe a brilliant tutor to help our child sharpen their skills.

We want to person we’re hiring to have a good head on their shoulders.

How can we find out who’s smart in a time-efficient manner?

A select group of folks from Quora chimed in – and the writer selected just one. Not only does the answer make the most logical sense, but it’s also valid from both a common-sense perspective and an empirical one.

For reference, the original question is: How can I identify the smartest person in the room?

One Timothy Emmanuel Lim wrote the answer that the writer chose to use. So, Mr. Lim, if you happen to come across this article, thank you for your incredible insights.

“Different smart people, different cues to look out for.”

To give Mr. Lim his full proper credit, and to account subsequent edits made, the response has been posted in its entirety. (Please see the edited portions in ‘3. It includes the element of humility.’)

‘Different smart people, different cues to look out for.

The smartest person (in no particular order) is most often;

  1. The hardest to verbally challenge (they may have opinions, but it’s purely derived from facts and logic).
  2. The quietest (they’re listening very closely and attentively — still water runs deep).
  3. The most observant (the little things that count are the big things to see — God is in the details).
  4. The fastest to question (and the hardest to answer).
  5. The most reserved, but not shy (because they’re constantly thinking, listening, and processing thoughts, rather than wasting time assuming and unfiltering their comments).
  6. The least reactive (because they know what to expect and not get surprised).
  7. The hardest to convince (while rebutting endlessly).
  8. The most open to question and being proved wrong (truth be above all things — including one’s ego).
  9. The most (logically) critical.
  10. The most bored-looking (not bored, just thinking about other things).
  11. The most unamused (mainly because things may get too predictable).
  12. The most direct (without being rude).
  13. The most secretly attentive (watch the eyes, it’s the greatest indicator).
  14. The most curious (not hyperactive).
  15. The most calm and controlled (rationality keeps the head calm).
  16. The most incomprehensible (some intellects are so superior, they’re too intelligent to be understood, given the right circumstances — thirties communication range).
  17. The most unorthodox (lateral thinking often proves intellectual superiority).
  18. The most receptive (open-minded).
  19. The most verbally intense.
  20. The one who looks the most dumb (circumstantial — never judge a book by its cover).
  21. The least impressed (they’re impressed by things not many people are impressed by, vice-versa).
  22. The least outwardly impressive (again, still water runs deep — they usually don’t care about other’s impressions of them).

Of course, these are some characteristics. The smartest person in the room doesn’t need to display all 22 because it can be subjective to character, personality, views, and upbringing.

The list is non-exhaustive. There are also exceptions here and there.

The smartest is not to be confused with the most knowledgeable. The two characteristics often go hand-in-hand but are independent of each other.

And smart people don’t often think of themselves as smart.

Why Lim is Right

There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it.

Lim’s response makes sense for two reasons: (1) the humility with which it is written, and (2) the (probable) truth behind its assertions.

I wanted to check Mr. Lim’s credentials by reading some of his Quora posts. He does indeed craft his answers with what seems to be a piercing logic. He writes well and is extremely thorough in both his original postings and in his replies. Moreover, he cites references and is detail-oriented – two marks of a good writer. He’s most certainly of above-average intelligence, a.k.a., smart.

Most importantly, he is humble and openminded. These, too, as we will find out, are common characteristics of smart people.

I then got into the meat of Lim’s answer – and am in total agreement on just about every point. Here’s why:

  1. It mirrors a subjective experience.

Now, the writer doesn’t often consider himself the “smartest person in the room.” With all humility, the writer supposes that he’s relatively bright. He has a pretty good education and has scored around the 95th percentile on a certified I.Q. test. He doesn’t say this to be a braggart, but merely to demonstrate that he may have a unique perspective on Lim’s observations.

Throughout his life, because of the accomplishments above, he has also had to privilege to hang around incredibly smart people. A few of whom he considers his friends.

And most of them fit what Lin says to a T. They’re smart without showing it; quiet, receptive, and respectful; reserved and non-reactive; curious and openminded; humble and unassuming.

Indeed, this writer’s own subjective experience with smart people is nearly dead-on with what Lim describes. While this isn’t empirical evidence, it’s quite strong – and it’s commonsensical.

  1. The author describes introversion, which is related to high I.Q.

If you read through Mr. Lim’s list, you’ll notice that pretty much every line applies to the introvert.

Why is this important?

Because there exists a direct link between introversion and high intelligence. In a study  undertaken by researchers at University of North Georgia (USA), researchers state in the introduction “It’s (noted) that introverts may exhibit higher I.Q. scores due to their calculated and analytical predisposition because they are more prone to think through things rather than being impulsive.”

Included in the analysis were 59 female undergraduate students; 41 tested as extroverts and 18 as introverts. The introverted group “had significantly better I.Q. scores” than their extroverted counterparts.

Multiple other studies have reached a similar conclusion: introverts are (generally) smarter.

  1. It includes the element of humility, which is characteristic of smart people.

Most smart people exhibit an air of humility, and the ones that don’t aren’t the smart people you want to associate with, anyways. Mr. Lim includes two excellent quotes that typify a smart person’s attitude towards their own and others intelligence:

“I know I’m intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” — Socrates

And an even better quote to corroborate;

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” — Albert Einstein

Of Socrates, Lim adds:

“A dissection on the quote of Socrates; Socrates states that the more you know — the more aware of what you don’t know, realizing that there is only so much your mind is capable of understanding, henceforth paradoxically stating that intelligent people understand their limitations and therefore humbly acknowledges that they’re not knowledgeable (enough)…”

It should also be noted that Lim’s response includes open-mindedness, curiosity, reservation, and quietness as character traits of smart people. Such traits are often associated with humility, as well.

We could also strengthen the argument for Lin’s insights by pairing #3 with #2. We most often link humility with introverted personalities, which, as we’ve shown, links to higher intelligence.

  1. It makes sense (look at the smart people in your life, including yourself!)

Lin’s answer makes almost total sense. I say almost because it is missing what I believe to be a crucial element: a good heart. Heart intelligence is a real thing, and it is important.

So, Mr. Lim, may I suggest that you add the 23rd item to your list? Let’s keep it simple: “They have a good heart.”

Final Thoughts on Discerning a Smart Person

After you find the “smartest person in the room,” make sure they have the heart to go with it.


10 Ways to Show People You’re Smart Without Saying Anything

10 Ways to Show People You're Smart Without Saying Anything

Being smart in this world isn’t everything, but it sure helps.

For the sake of non-confusion, let’s define the word ‘smart’ for our reference. We’ll set the term as:

 having enough mental and emotional aptitude to succeed in your life’s goals.

Some people equate smartness with a high I.Q., but there are plenty of people with an off-the-charts I.Q. who live a self-described miserly existence. Is this, then, a good, practical definition of “smart”? What’s the use of being highly intelligent if your life is chronically unhappy?

Say someone you know has a 150 I.Q., an exceptionally high score – almost genius level. Yet, they live their life in a state of self-perceived lack – of relationships, fulfillment, and meaning.

Is this smart? After all, shouldn’t someone this “smart” be able to figure out the source of the shortcomings of their lifestyle and make the necessary changes?

Therein lies the problem of equating intelligence with smarts.

Being smart involves a keenness for navigating life. Perhaps this is why Stephen Hawking, the late, great theoretical physicist, once remarked, “People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”

In other words, to be considered ‘smart,’ there need to be present a certain degree of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, or ‘E.I,’ is broken down into four categories: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management, and includes such factors as:

  • Knowing your emotional states
  • Managing your emotions
  • Motivating yourself
  • Recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions (empathy)
  • Managing relationships

A rather broad definition of smarts, but there you go.

In this article, we’re going to discuss why it’s beneficial to (subtly) display your smarts to others. We’re not talking about bragging or waving around your college diploma. We’re talking about small, everyday activities and behaviors that you are smart and capable.

Let’s get to it then!

smart people dont tolerate these behaviors

10 Ways to Show People You’re Smart

“Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.”  ~ Alan Alda, 6-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner

As you go through this list of ten things to do to show people you’re smart, you’ll no doubt read items that you think are basic common-sense. This shows awareness; another quality often left out of the intelligence “equation.” It’s also a critical aspect of smartness.

Without further ado, here are ten ways to show people that you’re smart!

1  – Always be on time

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” ~ Charles Darwin, founder of the Theory of Evolution

To be on time is to demonstrate your self-awareness and sense of responsibility. People who are chronically late are perceived as unreliable, untrustworthy, and undisciplined. None of these traits should ever be associated with a smart person.

People who achieve their goals are masters of their time. Take Charles Darwin as an example. By his own account, Charles Darwin didn’t possess any kind of extraordinary intellect. Something he did possess was mastery over his time.

It is said that Darwin would observe different animals for hours, ensuring that all of his work was done as meticulously as possible. The only way he could do this, of course, was to carefully allocate his waking hours for what he perceived to be his life’s most important tasks.

2 –  Be a good listener

“It takes a great man to be a good listener.”  ~ Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States

Really quickly: Think of a couple of people in your life who are good listeners. People whose eyes remain fixated on yours while you speak. People who always seem to offer excellent and timely advice.

What characteristics do you associate with them?

The odds are that “smart” is up there.

The reason is simple: it’s challenging to be a good listener. To listen well requires the honing of attention and the trait of open-mindedness. It also involves restraint and the ability to control impulsive thoughts.

These qualities are the bedrock of active listening – the ability to remain receptive to the words of another and to offer a timely, relevant response.

socially intelligent people listen well

3 –  Spend money wisely

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money, and I’ll tell you what they are.”  ~ Dr. James W. Frick, former Vice President for the University of Notre Dame

Did you know that most countries with the highest personal savings rates (money left after taxes/bills/etc.) tend to have lower incomes?

In other words, saving money has nothing to do with money coming in or out. It has everything to do with prioritizing.

Smart people save and spend money wisely, period. They know that going to war with yourself over why there’s nothing left in the bank isn’t worth it.

Fortunately, this is a problem that’s quite easy to fix!

Come up with an accurate budget of your average monthly expenses and income. Don’t allow the former to exceed the latter. Yes, you may have to cut back or eliminate costs.

In a few months, you’ll have a bit of cushion!

4 – Get organized

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” ~ Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, inventor, and philosopher

So many of us waste time and energy simply because we’re unorganized. A smart person doesn’t allow this to happen.

Simple things like putting your keys in the same place, automating your savings, spending a few minutes cleaning up your workspace – and so on – can save you time and make your life easier.

Start by identifying the most significant time and energy wasters in your life. What can you do to ease the burden?

5 – Be polite

“Please be polite. Nothing in life should erode the habit of saying thank you to people or praising them.”   ~ Sir Richard Branson, Founder and CEO of the Virgin Group

Politeness displays that you have a sense of sophistication and selflessness. Doing things like holding the door open or helping an elderly adult with their groceries not only feels good but contributes to your self-esteem and self-worth.

Rudeness, on the other hand, sends the opposite message. Rude people are perceived as ignorant and social misfits – two words that are never applied to someone smart.

oversized ego

6 – Have a sense of style

“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality that is everyday life.”  ~ Bill Cunningham, American fashion photographer for the New York Times

We don’t buy into the extreme materialism that has seemingly dug its hooks into the collective psyche of developed countries. This top isn’t about greed, adornment, or braggadocio.

It’s about presentability.

Appearance still matters in many ways, including how smart you appear to others. Take a pair of eyeglasses, for example. Do they not transform the wearer into a more studious form?

Bottom line: own a nice pair of slacks and some decent dress shoes. Patch, repair, or replace clothing as needed.

7 –  Remember the details

“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll, Christian pastor, author, and educator

Details run our life. Those whom others perceive as smart pay close attention to those details. Failing to do so can result in adverse consequences, up to an including the catastrophic.

Getting better at paying attention to detail requires the honing of both selective and sustained attention. Selective attention is the ability to choose a specific stimulus out of many, while sustained attention involves holding the attention onto the stimulus (e.g., a task or target).

Attention is analogous to a muscle. Use it, and it becomes stronger, don’t, and it atrophies. Some useful exercises for strengthening focus include meditation (of course), reading, and physical activity.

8 – Take notes

Okay, so you may feel a bit embarrassed by taking notes at your next meeting. But you know what? It sure as heck conveys a positive message.

First and foremost, taking notes shows your commitment to excellence. Second, it shows that you’re willing to study to get better.

Being a smart person requires that you remember the essential things. Unfortunately, we tend to be somewhat biased in this regard, thinking that we’ll remember more than we actually will.

This is where taking notes can help a ton. It’s also an easy, subtle way to show off your smarts.

9 – Keep the right company

“Tell me with who you associate, and I will tell you who you are.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and statesman

Speaking of easy ways to appear smart (or not), there’s who you choose to call your friends. Fair or not, who you “hang out” with is seen as a reliable indicator of your judgment – and thus, smarts.

The choice to keep in good company isn’t an exclusionary or elitist ideal. We tell our kids all of the time to avoid the “wrong crowd,” after all. While we’re a bit less susceptible to corrosive influences as an adult, it’s still essential to associate with the right person; if for none other reason than to be seen as having good character and judgment.

10 – Take care of your body

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~ Jim Rohn, entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker

While some people care for their body to boost their egos, we seek a more holistic reason.

The best one: well (or poorly) your body is taking care of will affect (positively or negatively) everything that you do. Energy levels, susceptibility to disease, and degree of mobility are all influenced – to a great extent – by how you care for the body.

With this in mind, try to get at least 30 to 45 minutes to light to moderate exercise every day.

Final Thoughts on Showing People How Smart You Are Without Bragging About It

Taking these actions puts your “smarts” on display. You won’t need to tell others how sharp-minded you are. Indeed, your behaviors will speak volumes about you.


5 Smart Promotional Strategies for Your Legal Website

5 Smart Promotional Strategies for Your Legal Website

5 Smart Promotional Strategies for Your Legal Website

Busses and benches had their time, but now the internet is the best place to reach potential clients. What promotional strategies can you use to get people to your legal website?

Legal marketers face many issues, but increasing your online presence can solve them.

This article will give you strategies to expand the reach of your legal website. Once you get more traffic, you can start converting those leads into paying clients.

Take a look at your current marketing strategy, and let’s get into improvements.

Mobile Optimization

So many companies optimize their websites for mobile users now that people expect it. They’ll go to another website if yours isn’t optimized.

Create a responsive design for your website. That will analyze what device the visitor is using and adjust the layout accordingly.

Google favors websites that take usability into consideration. Proper mobile optimization improves your SEO scores.

Content Marketing

If you’ve read an informative blog, you’re benefitting from content marketing.

Unlike invasive, annoying advertisements, content marketing focuses on providing value to the consumer. With informative blogs, you can create a helpful reputation with potential clients.

Content marketing also improves your SEO scores by building links and keywords.

Content marketing is over 60% less expensive than other promotional strategies. Plus, it generates three times the leads.

Overall, it provides valuable information and directs them towards your legal site. That’ll generate more leads than pestering them with ads.

Social Media

Social media is vital to spreading your online presence. You’ve nailed down your audience, so research which social media outlets they use.

The legal industry can confuse the average person. Social media is a great way to answer their questions with valuable information.

This also gives them an outlet to share great experiences with your law firm.

You want to engage people. Consider asking for their opinions on hot button topics related to your services.

Be Accessible

In the era of everything online and on-demand, clients want 24/7 access to you. If they’re looking at your website or social media, they want you to answer their questions right away.

One of the best promotional strategies is referrals. Provide a website experience your clients will happily refer.

For example, industry leader Babcock Partners has a live chat function on their website. If clients have questions, Babcock Partners can answer immediately.

Automated Promotional Strategies

Your marketing team shouldn’t waste their time sending out hundreds of emails. Automate your marketing process anywhere you can.

Many services exist to send out emails automatically. That way, leads get a prompt welcoming email when they sign up for your email list.

You can also program automated social media posts. Your team can spend more time replying to comments than posting.

Pulling it All Together

Promoting your legal website involves a complete presence on the internet.

You can’t just blast people with ads and expect traffic. With tactics like a social media presence and content marketing, you can generate organic traffic to your website.

Have you used any of these strategies? Which ones perform the best?

Leave a comment to let us know!