TED Conversations

Gisela McKay

President and Co-Founder, pixcode


This conversation is closed.

How do smart people "find their level" in conversation?

I am interested in identifying how smart people (gifted/exceptional or whatever word we’re using this week) people recognize each other.

I have observed that they can identify each other relatively quickly, and even broadly determine where they sit relative to each other while average or “less smart” people can usually identify that they are dealing with “smart” people but not necessarily the extent to which they are smart.

Some things I have observed that are “tells” of being “quicker”:

1. A willingness to leave the conversational basics behind and explore deeper into the subject (and if the person they are conversing with does not follow, drop back to the level the other can cope with).
2. Anchoring - taking the current topic of conversation and looking for a frame of reference they are already familiar with to understand it better.
3. Quips and parallel commentary - fleeting comments that are not meant to derail the main thrust of the conversation.

Any other keys you have observed in your experience?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Aug 12 2011: I think that I (like almst everyone else here) don't intend to seek out intelligence in people, hoever it may present itself.

    What I do seek out is engaging conversation, and I think most intelligent people do, they'll look further into a topic to try and find out more interesting scenarios or conclusions. Because intelligent people want their conversations to be interesting for them they generally make the conversation more interesting for the other person.

    If you want something (and have a kind heart) you will give it.

    so simply put, "like attracts like" but due to the higher rate of interesting conversations to be had with more intelligent people they will generally coverge into a group, but due to the fact that it is just a higher rate, you will obviously find individual that don't match this generalisation.

    But what would I know I'm Just a kid.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.