How to Look Like an Expert (Even if You’re Not)

How to Look Like an Expert (Even if You’re Not)

We’ve all been there. You walk into the humidor, bar, liquor store, etc. You look around. And you are utterly lost. Maybe you’re on a special date, or you are getting ready for a party Whatever the occasion, you’re looking to impress.

At this point most of us either go for the good ol’ tried and true or we blindly pick something based on the price or look of the bottle (and the marketing professionals celebrate another job well done). Neither option will lead you to the best experience. If you go the tried and true route you’re limiting yourself on new experiences and new liquors or cigars to fall in love with. If you trust the marketing team you have no real way of gauging if this is a product that suits your individual tastes.

There is a third option though: ask the experts for help. Most people tend to avoid this option because they feel like its a sign of weakness. They feel uncultured, uneducated, or just plain ignorant.

So how do you make the right selection for yourself without falling into any of these traps? Here is the secret to opening yourself up to new experiences, with a degree of certainty that it will suit you, without coming off as unknowledgeable.

Ask your expert (bartender, waiter, sommelier, tobacconist) for advice.

Think about it. Consider something you’re passionate about. Have a love of sports, classic cars, hunting, Hawaiian shirt collecting? Whatever it is, don’t you love getting to talk about it? Its the same for your bartenders and tobacconists. These experts have a serious love for their crafts. The old brigade of haughty liquor or cigar snobs have generally moved on, replaced by today’s new wave of enthusiastic experts who are excited to work with their passions.

Scared that asking questions makes you look like a fool? It’s the total opposite. The top experts in the field of fermented drinks and tobacco will always tell you that they are constantly learning something new about their passion every single day. Experts know that they do not know everything!

When you ask for advice, you can open yourself to new options that are tailor-fit for you. You also can generally gain another bit of knowledge to help you in your selection next time. Seriously, how else are you supposed to learn if you never ask for the information?

There’s an old Chinese Proverb that I love: He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool for life. Experts know that there’s always more to learn. Fools think they know it all. So go out there and act like an expert: you’ll be surprised at how quickly your knowledge will grow!

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