Why is the smartest person in the room often the quietest?

There are a variety of reasons responsible for this:

  1. Smart people get bored by ordinary common stuff and as a rule do not participate or deliberately avoid mundane conversation. When a group is discussing daily weather, how they went to sleep or woke up, how is their coffee, what they did on weekend or plan to do the coming holidays, the smart ones will be quiet.
  2. Their minds are busy figuring intricate and more interesting stuff; when the mind is busy, the mouth is usually silent. They may be physically present in the group, but mentally in another world but not like they are ill, melancholy or

There are a variety of reasons responsible for this:

  1. Smart people get bored by ordinary common stuff and as a rule do not participate or deliberately avoid mundane conversation. When a group is discussing daily weather, how they went to sleep or woke up, how is their coffee, what they did on weekend or plan to do the coming holidays, the smart ones will be quiet.
  2. Their minds are busy figuring intricate and more interesting stuff; when the mind is busy, the mouth is usually silent. They may be physically present in the group, but mentally in another world but not like they are ill, melancholy or disrespectful but just because they indulge in whatever they find more interesting.
  3. Usually, the common talk is not just boring for the smarter people, they also see the futility of contributing in a conversation where their ideas or inputs would not be welcome/ rejected/ found weird/ useless for discussion/ misunderstood. Better to stay quiet then.
  4. Sometimes they are quiet because they are listening to each and every word with an unnerving attention. You might have noticed, when they are listening attentively they usually cock their neck to one side and their eyes have a direct, boring iron gaze that never wavers from the eyes of the speaker. In contrast, when they are just busy in their minds, you might find them doodling, playing with their fingers or some objects like pen, keys, flower, tissue etc.
  5. They are often quiet because they do not wish to appear as a snob or a show off in a company where others are clearly below their mental level.

Don't show others that you are the smartest person in the room.

That is advice that many executives impart to their brightest up and comers. While it may be obvious, when you are bright – and able to connect dots to points that no one else can see – it’s pretty tempting to strut your own stuff. The problem is that it can be obnoxious.

Jerry Weintraub – an all-around entertainment impresario – tells a story in his delightful memoir, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead, about the time Elvis Presley approached him about becoming his manager. Weintraub had produced a series of Elvis comeback p

Don't show others that you are the smartest person in the room.

That is advice that many executives impart to their brightest up and comers. While it may be obvious, when you are bright – and able to connect dots to points that no one else can see – it’s pretty tempting to strut your own stuff. The problem is that it can be obnoxious.

Jerry Weintraub – an all-around entertainment impresario – tells a story in his delightful memoir, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead, about the time Elvis Presley approached him about becoming his manager. Weintraub had produced a series of Elvis comeback performances in the early Seventies and Elvis trusted him. While Weintraub passed on the opportunity, he did make a connection to a top-flight manager in the U.K.

After lengthy negotiations, the manager came to see Elvis in Las Vegas. Weintraub gave the man strict instructions that while he could manage Elvis’s career, he was not to give him advice. He was strictly about business. No problem said the Britisher. So after watching Elvis in concert the manager goes back stage to meet the King. Weintraub watches from a distance as the man asks Elvis if he might make some suggestions about the cape he’s wearing on stage.Elvis politely – he was always polite to strangers – excused himself and later told Weintraub that the deal was off. Advice about his wardrobe was not what Elvis was looking for in a manager. Yet some people just cannot resist putting in their two-cents and in this case it ended up costing the manager millions.

As gossipy as Weintraub’s story is, it contains nuggets of truth about what it takes to succeed when you are working with people who have power or influence over you – as well as with colleagues who with whom you must collaborate. Sometimes it pays to shut up! There will be plenty of opportunities to show what you know and how you know it but do not show off. People in power don’t like it and people you work with find it annoying.

I believe that smart people have hunter-gatherer minds (intuitives in Myers-Briggs), whereas most people have farmer minds and these two are often not very compatible.

Hunter-gatherer people often become deeply introverted in childhood already, because they understand that they are different from the vast majority of people (INs only make up about 10% of the population) and when they grow up they feel they are misunderstood and that they can’t make a change anyway.

Read “The Little Prince” and you get an idea what it is like for a gifted kid to grow up: you see the elephant inside the boa where

I believe that smart people have hunter-gatherer minds (intuitives in Myers-Briggs), whereas most people have farmer minds and these two are often not very compatible.

Hunter-gatherer people often become deeply introverted in childhood already, because they understand that they are different from the vast majority of people (INs only make up about 10% of the population) and when they grow up they feel they are misunderstood and that they can’t make a change anyway.

Read “The Little Prince” and you get an idea what it is like for a gifted kid to grow up: you see the elephant inside the boa where others see a hat (NB: this is a metaphor):

“Whenever I encountered a grown-up who seemed to be intelligent, I would experiment on him with my drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I wanted to see if he really understood anything.

But he would always answer, "That's a hat." … So I lived by myself, with no one to talk to”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (INFP)

So, what is the point of talking about something other people can’t see??? 90% of the time we would be wasting our energy and that is why we keep quiet. People would think we are crazy.

More about hunter-gatherer minds here:

The hardest problems for evolutionary psychology - part three: introversion

The psychology and biology of gifted children and highly intelligent people

I can’t tell you if it’s often. I can’t always be sure I’m the smartest in the room either because there are loads of smart people around, but I can tell you why I tend to be the quietest. Mainly it’s because I like to have something logical, sensible and helpful to add before jumping in. I understand most problems are problems because we don’t understand enough yet about them or haven’t thought deeply enough yet about the wide range of possible solutions. So I’m 1) listening to pick up stuff I don’t already know about the problem, 2) I’m running through other things I know that some may not -

I can’t tell you if it’s often. I can’t always be sure I’m the smartest in the room either because there are loads of smart people around, but I can tell you why I tend to be the quietest. Mainly it’s because I like to have something logical, sensible and helpful to add before jumping in. I understand most problems are problems because we don’t understand enough yet about them or haven’t thought deeply enough yet about the wide range of possible solutions. So I’m 1) listening to pick up stuff I don’t already know about the problem, 2) I’m running through other things I know that some may not - solutions that have been tried and failed (and often the on-going discussion either shows or raises some of those, which I then parse in my head by comparing logically with similar situations.

All that takes time. It usually pays off because I’m noticing stuff that’s coming out from others that others aren’t noticing because they’re engaged in talking, which means getting ready to talk as well as the actual delivery. So I get more time to think, can apply more information, can rule out stuff that won’t work BEFORE I lay it on the table, etc. So it may appear I’m the smartest or among the smartest there, but that’s not necessarily true.

This question assume a lot.

How can you possible know if a quiet person is smart? The only information you have about them is they have the ability to be quiet, possibly control themselves.

The quiet person may not have any thoughts at all and therefore say nothing.

The quiet person may be a coward or insecure or socially inept and therefore says nothing.

Are quiet people always smart? - No

Are smart people always quiet? - No

It can actually be selfish and stupid to be quiet. If you are amongst people who are discussing ideas that are flawed or ill-informed and you say nothing then what good is your

This question assume a lot.

How can you possible know if a quiet person is smart? The only information you have about them is they have the ability to be quiet, possibly control themselves.

The quiet person may not have any thoughts at all and therefore say nothing.

The quiet person may be a coward or insecure or socially inept and therefore says nothing.

Are quiet people always smart? - No

Are smart people always quiet? - No

It can actually be selfish and stupid to be quiet. If you are amongst people who are discussing ideas that are flawed or ill-informed and you say nothing then what good is your intelligence. It is fair to say that individually you may have protected yourself in the moment, ok that’s smart. Yet a smart person would see that other people’s actions inevitably will effect them. All actions have consequences including the action of being quiet.

It is a sign of intelligence of knowing when to shut up, it is also a sign of intelligence to know when to speak up. Always being quiet is just as annoying as always talking. So the smartest person in the room is the person that can facilitate conversation, both giving and getting.

What is the point of being smart if you don’t share it?

What is the point of writing the most brilliant book in the universe if no one else can read it?

I’m answering this question because I heavily disagree with some of the other answers to this.

This is a wholly untrue statement that lives on from an era prior to any data or real science in this area. For hundreds of years, European culture heavily emphasized silence, obedience, and knowing your place. Loud noises were considered lowly, or peasant-like and peasants were considered inferior in every way.

You do not need to stretch very far to see why our culture would say “the quietest person in the room is the smartest”. Culture rewards that which it wants, AND a highly intelligent, conscienti

I’m answering this question because I heavily disagree with some of the other answers to this.

This is a wholly untrue statement that lives on from an era prior to any data or real science in this area. For hundreds of years, European culture heavily emphasized silence, obedience, and knowing your place. Loud noises were considered lowly, or peasant-like and peasants were considered inferior in every way.

You do not need to stretch very far to see why our culture would say “the quietest person in the room is the smartest”. Culture rewards that which it wants, AND a highly intelligent, conscientious person would in fact remain quiet under these circumstances. But the INTELLIGENT and CONSCIENTIOUS parts are separate personality traits. The loud guy jumping around the pub in the victorian era could in-fact be as smart, or smarter, than the guy who is quietly and dutifully fulfilling his role. The culture of that time just didn’t separate the traits, you were intelligent if and only if you were conscientious.

So it is pretty easy to decipher that the smartest person in the room is not the quietest. It could be, but there is no causation or even correlation there. It is simply something our society has tried to shove down our throats for several hundred, if not thousand, years.

There are many reasons, as you might imagine, but chief among them is not wanting to embarrass anyone. Observation allows us to sort of take the temperature of a room and let us avoid making a splash if we enter a conversation. We don’t want to push a popular person off their soap box if we can help it and if they aren’t harming anyone. But it’s always nice to steer someone away from bad opinions based on missing information and toward fact based opinions that they can believe they reached by themselves. When it works well, we often have an ally in the room that has the ear of others. When it

There are many reasons, as you might imagine, but chief among them is not wanting to embarrass anyone. Observation allows us to sort of take the temperature of a room and let us avoid making a splash if we enter a conversation. We don’t want to push a popular person off their soap box if we can help it and if they aren’t harming anyone. But it’s always nice to steer someone away from bad opinions based on missing information and toward fact based opinions that they can believe they reached by themselves. When it works well, we often have an ally in the room that has the ear of others. When it doesn’t no one gets their nose out of joint. Another reason for holding our tongue would be to determine if we are indeed the smartest person in the room. I usually enjoy meeting someone who is as smart as I am, we seldom clash and usually find something we can have a good conversation about without boring everyone else. I really enjoy visiting with people who are a bit cinical and sarcastic but not if they are mean spirited.

That’s because HE IS SMART!

Well I’ll explain this.

  • Smartest person always like to read anything positive like books, blogs, posts, etc. Since he did read and learnt lots of things, he have different perspective of thinking than others. Examples of this is following scene:- My uncle once started talking about gym and supplements. He said, “Don’t take any protein supplements, its harmful”. I tried to explain this thing, but it would look like argument with elders in others perspective. Others would think “He is elder than you, he have more knowledge than you”. I had knowledge about protein supple

That’s because HE IS SMART!

Well I’ll explain this.

  • Smartest person always like to read anything positive like books, blogs, posts, etc. Since he did read and learnt lots of things, he have different perspective of thinking than others. Examples of this is following scene:- My uncle once started talking about gym and supplements. He said, “Don’t take any protein supplements, its harmful”. I tried to explain this thing, but it would look like argument with elders in others perspective. Others would think “He is elder than you, he have more knowledge than you”. I had knowledge about protein supplements and its mechanism in body, but I didn’t kept arguing. So keeping quiet in some cases is SMARTNESS.
  • Smartest person always seek to learn new things. Example of this is following scene:- I am learning about investments and share market. Some of my friends have already knowledge about this topic. So I’m gonna listen to them and talk less (and of course read and learn about this).
  • Smartest person always have different perspective of thinking than other people’s perspective, so they prefer to talk less.

Smart people always said:-

TALK LESS, LISTEN MORE

P.S.- It don’t apply to interviews and viva😉

Because smart people have nothing to say. Most people talk just for the sake of talking.

Maybe they feel they need to show off, or make it appear they know what we are talking about, or just simply like hearing them selves talk.

Also people (for the most part) are not born smart or dumb, they either learn or they don't. The “smart” people became smart because they shut up, listened, and learned. Other people talk, don't listen, and so never learn anything.

Lastly smart people know their intelligent should be on a need to know basis. If everyone knew they were smart, everyone would be bothering to

Because smart people have nothing to say. Most people talk just for the sake of talking.

Maybe they feel they need to show off, or make it appear they know what we are talking about, or just simply like hearing them selves talk.

Also people (for the most part) are not born smart or dumb, they either learn or they don't. The “smart” people became smart because they shut up, listened, and learned. Other people talk, don't listen, and so never learn anything.

Lastly smart people know their intelligent should be on a need to know basis. If everyone knew they were smart, everyone would be bothering to help them, or teach them. It's better to just keep quite, fly under the radar, and only make your self know when need be.

I won’t call them the quietest. I would term them as calm.

As you can see above, the quote mentioned by Mr. Han in the movie Karate Kid. There is a lot going inside a smart person.

So instead of keep chattering to prove themselves as smart and effective, they want to bring a positive difference.

Hence, the key trait of smart people is, Listening.

They observe the ongoing situation, evaluate the balance between cost of achievement and risks involved. And also measure it with past failures.

They might not always be right but they always analyse the same way. You see? With so much going on in mind a p

I won’t call them the quietest. I would term them as calm.

As you can see above, the quote mentioned by Mr. Han in the movie Karate Kid. There is a lot going inside a smart person.

So instead of keep chattering to prove themselves as smart and effective, they want to bring a positive difference.

Hence, the key trait of smart people is, Listening.

They observe the ongoing situation, evaluate the balance between cost of achievement and risks involved. And also measure it with past failures.

They might not always be right but they always analyse the same way. You see? With so much going on in mind a person would automatically become visibly quite but there is alot going on within.

But please remember, vice versa is not true. Every quite person is not smart.

There is a phenomenon now known as the Dunning-Kruger effect:

Dunning–Kruger effect - Wikipedia

To summarize one study, competent students underestimated their abilities while incompetent students over-estimated their abilities.

While anecdotal, I’ve observed folks that are very cocksure and wrong all the time. They don’t seem to notice how often they are wrong. It is like something in their brain refuses to acknowledge their incompetence. I believe we all do this to some extent but I think the phenomenon amplifies with more incompetence.

I was playing my roommate chess. I consider myself a medium

There is a phenomenon now known as the Dunning-Kruger effect:

Dunning–Kruger effect - Wikipedia

To summarize one study, competent students underestimated their abilities while incompetent students over-estimated their abilities.

While anecdotal, I’ve observed folks that are very cocksure and wrong all the time. They don’t seem to notice how often they are wrong. It is like something in their brain refuses to acknowledge their incompetence. I believe we all do this to some extent but I think the phenomenon amplifies with more incompetence.

I was playing my roommate chess. I consider myself a medium player and he thought there were things he could teach me about the game. After I took his queen for the fourth time and he resigned (he won’t play without his queen) he said that his brain wasn’t right and he couldn’t think straight that day. The truth is I am vastly superior to him in chess (and I’m not that good). I usually know when I play someone else within 6 to 10 moves whether they are a vastly superior player but for some reason he doesn’t notice when I’m a superior player. He could be being dishonest but I think he believes he was just having a bad day playing chess.