Not long ago, an acquaintance, Jared Kent, and I were having a dialogue on some of the challenges we find ourselves in when conversing with others in public, at a party or in a group when everyone has dummied down the level of talk to the lowest common denominator; the weather, a show on TV, a new tech device, or some event in the newspaper. It's difficult for a high IQ person to deal with that, but then again not everyone has the intellect to carry on a decent dialogue, or if they do, they've learned not to bother, because few others can. Let's talk.
Jared asks; "Lance, I would like to hear some of your thoughts on how you have had luck diverting a conversation effectively to a higher level?"
Oh, well, you know I ask someone what kind of work they do, ask them about their shirt, many have logos, company names, sayings, sports. Then I ask them a question, not a simple one, one of curiosity; what do you think about? Let the other person pick the topics, it's more fun that way, you get their passionate responses, their insightfulness, what they really think, not what they are supposed to say at work for instance.
Maybe they've been wanting to give their opinion but their EQ - emotional IQ tells them they had better not if they want to get along with the office politics, have upward advancement and keep their friends too. Even stupid people give insight. Sometimes crazy people are the most fun, they give me ideas, innovative thoughts, Sci Fi short story topics even.
What about when they don't want to talk about heavy topics, or want to take the conversation back down a number of notches to "how about those Yankees?"
Well, in that case, I say; just disengage, let them play the cocktail party crap, they may have a PhD but aren't interested in heavy conversation, that's okay, find someone who is, or ask them really good questions that engage them, make them think, keep asking questions. You can draw them out, maybe they start asking you questions, take it up a notch, if you see them contemplating, jump it up two more, just for fun, if you find them generally still into it, take them all the way to the top of your knowledge band, then challenge theirs too. Why not? It's actually quite stimulating to get your brain firing on all cylinders for a while.
You might find others purposely joining the dialogue or ease dropping, good, that means you have more people to talk with in the future, if it is a coffee shop for instance. Remember even a stupid person has 15-minutes of worthy repertoire, and when they are on caffeine and their neurons are firing they can give you something of interest. Most people I've met, their brains get tired after 45-minutes to an hour. The super thinkers can go on and on and never stop, they are thinking as they go. That's fun, you can cover so much that way - jumping from topic to topic - think about later.
I reminded Jared how I originated the discussion and discourse; "Remember, I asked you to pick a topic, any topic, on-going dialogue?" And this is how I and Jared began our intellectual discourse. Now then, here is another tip before I end this article; older people are better, but not too old, not too academically elitists, they just think they are smart, but not as smart as a fox, more like as smart as a box, the box they've grown their brain into, and cannot get out of. Please consider all this and think on it.