It's pretty safe to say that we'd all like to come across as well-informed, knowledgeable, and smart. Society values experts and rewards them, so we benefit when we're seen as having a certain level of command in what we do and what we speak about. While it's certainly positive to better ourselves in this regard, it can be a dangerous path to go down if we're focused too much on perceived expertise and intelligence during our interactions with others.
As we seek to better ourselves in our fields of work, we may notice our vocabulary shifting to defend our newfound status. We don't admit our shortcomings for fear of becoming vulnerable to criticism, and we stop acknowledging others to preserve our own ranking. However, what this behavior turns one into is not an expert but a know-it-all. To avoid becoming the latter, make a conscious effort to continue to implement the following three phrases into your daily interactions. True experts who know their value and don't question their own intelligence use these phrases regularly. It doesn't make them sound unsure or unreliable, it makes them sound smart.
"What do you think?" Taking the time to consider multiple ideas—especially those of others—shows you're smart enough to do your research. Know-it-alls resist input from others and put themselves in situations where they make more mistakes (and also turn off everyone around them). If you're smart, you'll want to seek out the ideas and opinions of others to better inform your own.
"I was wrong." Know-it-alls let their pride get the best of them and aren't able to admit failure. Recognizing when you've erred, learning from it, and then quickly moving forward is the sign of a truly mature, well-functioning adult. Everyone makes mistakes, and they're necessary to grow and improve.
Say nothing at all. While this isn't a phrase, choosing when to refrain from speaking is just as important as deciding what to say. Even if you're well-versed in the subject, don't dominate the conversation. Let others speak. You'll learn more from hearing what others have to say and become even smarter.
Do you agree with this list of phrases? Share your opinion in the comments.