Wit consists in seeing the resemblance between things which differ, and the difference between things which are alike.
- Madame de Stael
Talking smartly, using wit, is a skill carefully practices and possessed by politicians, diplomats, ambitious executives, courtiers, spies and such.
1. Don't try to be witty. Try to be a smart talker instead.
2. The secret to being witty is content (relevant) and delivery (briefly, clearly and confidently). It requires having a presence of mind (being aware to the situation/subject at hand, really listening), and lots of practice (delivery, ability to summarize expertly too) and research (knowing lots of anecdotes, sayings/proverbs etc related to the areas you are involved in).
It's not what you say, it's how you say it.
3. Witty people are also very observant and polite. They don't try to insult others with smart one-liners, just put an interesting/palatable/memorable spin to the topic under discussion.
4. The secret to being a smart talker is simple. Listen really well. Repeat what they have told you. Ask simple, mostly closed questions if you want to know if the other person is lying. Ask open-ended questions to know more on the subject.
Tip: Pause before you speak. Breathe in and breathe out before you say anything. It makes you look composed. They will also know you have been listening.
5. Smart people are like lawyers. They ask questions they already know answers to. This way they are leading the person to where they want them to be, allowing the other person to be as foolish she they want to be. On their part, they just say when they really have to.
6. Smart talkers talk carefully. Using their powers to listen (at times, to appear to listen), they learn about the motivations of other people. They don't jump ahead of the conversation, trying to guess the intentions. They listen instead.
7. Smart talkers will admit their ignorance readily and ask for help with details about the topic. They don't pretend to know everything, getting people to open up easily.
8. Smart talkers are comfortable with silence too.
9. Smart talkers read a lot (Yes I know, reading is not a pre-quisite for sounding smart.): They also read speeches and essays by great orators and communicators.
10. Smart talkers don't use 'lots of big words', but they have a decent vocabulary. They don't use many 'filler' words like 'hmmm' , 'stuff' and other vague terms, which anyway makes people sound less informed. But it pays to have a good knowledge of your domain/industry/topic.
9. Witty people sometimes bring wit by taking things to their logical extreme.
- How can a man go eight days without sleep?
No Problems, he sleeps at night.
- How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
It is not a problem, since you will never find an elephant with one hand.
- If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in the other hand, what would you have?
Very large hands.
- What happened when wheel was invented?
It caused a revolution.
- Bay of Bengal is in which state?
- What looks like half apple?
The other half.
- What can you never eat for breakfast?
- If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?
Thank you for reading.
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