team work in office

How to be the Smartest Person in the Room?

How do you appeal to everyone in the room? How do you convince them that you have the brains for any task or obstacle presented in front of you? We have some of our collective tips to appear as the smartest person in the room.

We’d like to share some common characteristics and attributes for showing intellectual dominance in the office or during a college group session. The aim is to look like a leader or a confident speaker who is reliable and radiates positivity and reliability.

Here are 7 ideas towards making a dominant, yet positive impact in the room.


Appearance is the key to show who is the smartest person in the room

This does not mean a suit and a tie necessarily. A well-kempt dress in a business casual environment and groomed look will be sufficient to give a good first impression. Dress for the moment, so much is obvious. Let your appearance speak for you or make the first positive impact, while you nod continuously, taking notes. To convey a message of reliability, trustworthiness, and efficiency, dress professionally. If your work dress code is more relaxed, you can relax yours as well, but do so after people have gotten to know you. Whether you like it or not, people will judge you on how you look.

First impressions

It is important to draw attention to yourself, especially since first impressions stick like glue. So it is crucial to make a positive impact and that will be your very first message resonating within the room you will be in. So how do you do it? Apart from making eye contact, giving good handshakes, and avoiding slouching it is hard to define one simple attribute that will land a bad opinion about you. It comes as a full package really. 

It would be interesting to find out what goes on in that moment when someone looks at you and draws all sorts of conclusions.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Our suggestion is to ensure that you are mindful of your conversation, especially in the beginning. A slight grin, even if it’s not returned, is already doing wonders. A combination of tone, body language, and confidence in your words can really make a difference. 

Convert percentage metrics into fractions

This one is just simple math. If someone would mention something like “About 20% of all retailers sell this product,” jump in with, “So about 1 in 5,” and make a note of it. Everyone will nod their head in agreement, secretly envious of your quick math skills and opportunity to speak out loud.

Use idioms

Using idioms to state an idea is a subtle, smart way. This way, even if the information is somewhat ambiguous, it shows confidence

“Cut corners,”

“Bend over backward”

“It’s not rocket science”


“Could you go back a bit?”

Ask the presenter or performer to go a step back on their explanation and question one of their key points or leave a remark to show your undivided attention. This is a great way to prove your continuous attention towards the presenter who usually appreciates the feedback. However, make sure you don’t do this every two minutes or you’ll more likely be named the chatterbox of the office.

Improve your Image

People tend to check out information about others before meeting or getting to know them better. This is a common thing for HR, business partners, curious colleagues, or online stalkers. However, you can turn this to your advantage to appear smarter. A good example is to keep a chiseled and up-to-date Linkedin profile that is both impressive and reflective of your skills.

This will help you stand out even before entering a room full of intellectuals and professionals if they’ve seen who you really are.

Platforms, graphs, models, and frameworks

You will appeal better if you’re thinking bigger than everyone else by bringing up a framework, or a model of thinking. Even if it’s hard to follow the discussion, ask how others would picture turning their ideas into a platform. This shows that you understand the idea, but want to simplify for better coherence.

Stay Strong

On the flip side of the dazzling coin called opportunity is the dull and unfortunate truth. Unfairness is real. Even though you might be the smartest person in the room with the best qualifications possible for the task, there is a probability that you will be overlooked. And it can be because of a variety of reasons. For example, if you are sitting in the boardroom and looking around, you are the only female present, the excuse of “it’s more of a man’s project” can be shoved across the table.

Or “you are too young, and someone with more experience needs to lead this” is also a probability. Utter frustration and indignation will consume you due to the unfairness of the situation. Don’t sit back! The first port of call is to take it up with your superior. And then HR if you don’t come right. If all else fails, contact an employment attorney in this matter. The point is that being the smartest person in the room also means that you must not become a pushover. Know your worth (minus the arrogance). 

Take the initiative to appear as the smartest person in the room

It’s just a common feeling to be overlooked or unneeded. Once you’ve completed certain duties, don’t hide in your cubicle until someone tells you what to do next. But to overcome it, you have to open up and embrace the fact, that sitting quietly is by no means “a silent observer.” There is a time when you have to speak up and a time to listen. Take turns and only voice your concern when the opportunity is ripe for the taking.

Be aware that ego is your enemy, therefore hide it as much as you can. 

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