We’ve all met them. Some even aspire to be them. But what should you do if you’re already the smartest person in the room?

Well, that’s got to be the easiest question ever asked.

Why? Because the answer is obvious for fair dinkum entrepeneurs.

So what is the best advice to the smartest person in the room?

My best advice

The answer? Get a new room.

The first reason why this is the best advice is also simple. If you’re already the smartest person in the room, you won’t be learning what you don’t already understand.

The second tip is to stop talking and start listening. Or you definitely won’t be the smartest person in the room for long.

When you become an expert, it is tempting to switch from learning to preaching mode.

One of my many wise mentors was my dad. One of his sage expressions was:

Hello, I am an expert.

“Don’t be an expert. An ex is a has-been and a  spurt is a drip under pressure.”

My dad

Talking with conviction isn’t the same as knowing what you are talking about. Haven’t we seen that time and again in many spheres, including politics?

No one likes fools

Which reminds me of another saying, which is: “It’s better to remain silent and be thought of as a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

The so-called “experts” aren’t sure if these famous words were uttered by Mark Twain or Abraham Lincoln. Maybe they should’ve asked someone who was smarter than them.

Anyway, I digress. So, back to the point of this article. How do you become a person of real substance and not fall into the trap of being a preaching expert?

Try this

Well, I have a two-step process you can try to the next time you meet someone who knows more than you.

  1. Ask a considered and thoughtful question.
  2. SHUT UP and listen to the answer.

I once learned a timely piece of advice on this topic.

It goes something like this: Leave a little of yourself on the table, with people wanting more of what you bring to a conversation.

Offer your card, with an offer. To continue the discussion, you will take their call and set up a time.

If they call, everyone wins. If they don’t, you wouldn’t have benefitted anyway.