How to Look Agreeably Smart


You need to look agreeably smart, not just smart. This is especially vital during an office presentation–or simply when meeting people. Even in casual meetings, we sell ourselves, as it were, to new friends and acquaintances just to make conversations meaningful.

So, to answer the question, how to look agreeably smart, I say–Be agreeably smart. What then is being agreeably smart?

Smart is okay, but some smart people tend to be offensively smart. That’s not agreeable. That’s why I say you have to be agreeably or pleasantly smart. Smart is about making correct, insightful, and accurate judgments. There’s where the problem lies–the judgment part. How do you make smart judgments and at the same time appear pleasant?

First, let’s talk about being smart.

To be sure, we’re not talking of smart alecks here. To be mentally smart, you need to quickly weigh or assess things properly on a high intellectual level. Some call this “acumen.” You need to be insightful. Smart is not just knowing a lot of things or getting high grades in class or on your class cards. There are very knowledgeable people who easily get manipulated by smart people. They know a lot of things but they just can’t make quick and accurate judgments in practical terms. They have problems relating textbooks with reality.

If you want to really improve yourself and be more competitive out there, you have to be smart first.

They say smart people are born, not made. It seems like that, but I have seen smart people in the making. I’ve seen how they started out like you and me and ended up really smart–but not without hard work.

Well, it’s not exactly hard work. If you love being smart it will be like play to you. You’d enjoy the adventure. Here are my tips for being smart:

Know the Types of People

Study people, and the different types of people. Study how they react or what they do before, during, and after a stimulus. Observe their thought patterns and their propensities. If you’re interested in people, this will be an exciting game for you. If you master the art of discerning people you would be able to pre-empt their reactions and always be a step ahead of them. You can even influence them to a particular action. But this takes expertise.

Listen well to what people are saying and gesturing (or their facial expressions) and try to get messages in-between lines. Some people mean the reverse of what they’re saying, and you’d catch them by the inconsistencies of their words and gestures. Then you’d know your next step based on that.

Know What Makes Them Give in

Know the general weaknesses of people. Sometimes, you can match people’s attitudes or characters with their weaknesses. Some marketers take advantage of parents’ or grand parents’ over-fondness for their kids, and make a sales killing out of that. TV and poster ads sometimes capitalize on people’s physical inferiority to make them buy beauty products. I’m not saying you do the same by taking advantage of weak people around you. But you can see here how some people outsmart other people. Use that principle for a good end. For instance, managers or supervisors can use this principle to motivate people under them.

Study human relations. Aside from reading books on it, observe how smart people think, move, talk, and deal with people, especially clients.

Be Careful What You See

See only intellectual movies and those with good plots. Watch how the writer created different crises to come together to a well thought-out end, and how the good actors and actresses played their part realistically. Don’t watch good movies passively. Criticize them.

Other Tips

  • Read a variety of good books. Don’t stop reading.
  • Play mind games to sharpen your ability to analyze, strategize, and pre-empt.
  • As much as you can, be with smart people always. Iron sharpens iron.
  • Engage in art. Art frees your mind and makes you creative. Try photography, drawing or painting, or acting, to name some.
  • Last, you can also aim to get high grades in school, or pursue a doctorate, if you want to.

Balance Between Firmly Smart and Gently Kind

Agreeably means people see that you’re not someone easy to manipulate, but they like you anyway. The corporate life has terrible politics within, more terrible than what you see in government (I’ve worked in both). So it pays to be agreeably smart in private companies.

Agreeably smart does not mean you become a yes man for someone, or a walking dictionary or textbook that everybody freely uses for his or her own interests. If you’re like that, people see you as easy-to-manipulate.

Being agreeably smart means you think and do things for the greater good. For instance, if you work for a company, be smart for the company’s betterment. If in government, for the betterment of that government. If in church, be smart for God’s glory. In short, don’t be smart for selfish interests or for ulterior motives that benefit only yourself or a few. If you’re a selfless guy who always uses his head, you’re agreeably smart.

Intellectuals who always think of others first are either heroes or statesmen.

I’ve been thinking. I’ve been suspicious how God intentionally makes selfless people naturally agreeably smart without much effort, and making selfish people looking the exact opposite in the end. But how come more people still want to follow in the footsteps of the latter? It’s a riddle smart people ought to solve.

It’s very important to be smart, not just knowledgeable. But much more important is being agreeably smart.


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