Posted on



“Learn step-by-step how to impress others and be perceived to be the SMARTEST PERSON in the room”.

By: John D. Gaskell, author of

           How to become the “SMARTEST PERSON” in the Room.

You are what you are perceived to be. Let me show you how to stand-out.

Introduction (Part 1 of a multi-part article)

I am an electrical engineer and a graduate of The College of Engineering at the University of Rhode Island. With this one statement, you are likely thinking that I must be really smart. That is one of the reasons you should get the best education that is within your means.

Some of my classmates never studied and got all A’s & B’s. (I still hate those guys). I studied day & night and seldom got a grade above a C. I graduated in the bottom half of my class and it took me two tries to pass the licensing exam to become a Professional Engineer. However, I was “savvy” and within ten years many people thought that I was “The smartest person in the room”. I was really the master of “self-promotion.” If you pursue my advice, you also can be regarded as such.

If you are truly smart, you may not need my advice. But, if you are a mere mortal, you might benefit from it.

See how to plan for your career. Understand that your career must be lucrative enough to support you and a family, not restrict where you can live, and not require odd hours or excessive travel. Grasp how attending local meeting of organizations in your industry will help you to get known. Learn how to start a contact list and how to make it more than just a list of names. Realize how easy it is to become an officer of any organization and perceive the value of that credential. Comprehend how to get yourself nominated for prestigious awards that will make your resume stand out. Glean how to choose the profession or business that is right for you. Find out how to prepare your business announcement, letterhead, business cards, and brochure distinct from those of your competitors.

Realize how public speaking opportunities are free publicity. Learn why you need to start a “Notebook” to record anything that you might need again and discover why spending time each week reading about new topics in your field, business trends and current affairs will enhance your reputation. Learn what a “White Paper” is and how it will be useful in promoting your reputation as the smartest person in the room. Realize that people judge your intelligence at your first meeting. Understand why you should encourage the other person to speak and discover what a “Conversation Statement” is and why you need one.

Learn why “Memory Lists” will simplify your life and make others think that you are smart. You will find the following most useful: Joke Reminders; Trip Preparation List; Trip Packing List; Trip Last-Minute Reminders; Restaurants (Healthy Meals); Places, Times & People; and Grocery List. Understand why collecting business cards and starting a contact list will help your reputation and realize why you should expand your mailing list to include all the players in your industry. Ascertain how to select topics for your articles and how to submit them to magazines. Learn how to design, print and distribute your re-prints of your articles. Finally see why almost any kind of speaking engagement enhances your image and credibility.

If you truly want to be perceived as “The smartest person in the room”, get Jack’s new book: How to become the “SMARTEST PERSON” in the Room, and learn the details. You are what you are perceived to be. Let me show you how to stand-out. Visit to find out more.

Excerpted from How to become the “SMARTEST PERSON” in the Room. © 2018 John D. Gaskell. Used with permission of Professional Value Books, Inc. All rights reserved. Order at Use coupon code “room” and save.

Posted on



“Learn about forensic engineering investigations: the step-by-step process of site investigation, and examination & testing of evidence that will make your testimony creditable.”

By John D. Gaskell, Retired Consulting Engineer

Author of “The Complete Guide to FORENSIC ENGINEERING

Learn about forensic engineering investigations.

Forensic engineering is defined by the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) as “the application of the art and science of engineering in matters which are in, or may possibly relate to, the jurisprudence system, inclusive of alternative dispute resolution.” These engineers serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law. Learn about forensic engineering investigations.



  • Interesting work
  • Low liability
  • High hourly rates
  • Advanced payment via retainer
  • Little competition


  • Can be stressful
  • Sometimes requires travel


The more investigation, research, analysis, and testing that you do, the more credible and convincing your testimony will be. Your investigation will, of course, depend on the details of the issues in your field of involvement. Your attorney/client can arrange access to evidence or the site. Do not rely on your memory; take detailed notes.

Site Investigation

If appropriate, visit the site to see the actual circumstances of the incident. Besides a pad and pen, bring a camera and possibly binoculars. Take many pictures and make sketches, if appropriate. Try to determine if the conditions now are the same as they were immediately following the incident.

One of my first investigations was of a fire of suspected electrical origin. The fire damage was extensive, with insulation melted off of much of the exposed wiring in the basement. Many of the covers were missing from junction boxes, and some had wiring hanging out with connections exposed without wire nuts. I documented all of these violations and thought, “No wonder the place burned down.” It wasn’t until I was driving home that it dawned on me that there were probably a half-dozen investigators there before me who created most of the violations. Don’t assume that things were always as you find them.

Be prepared to interview persons who may be able to offer useful information. It would be helpful to bring a tape recorder for interviews or to simplify note-taking.


If applicable, relevant items may be sent to you or you may have to go somewhere else to view, examine, and possibly test them. Besides a pad and pen, bring a camera and surgical gloves. Before touching these items, explain to representatives of both parties what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, and receive permission before proceeding. Take many pictures and make sketches, if appropriate. Depending upon the magnitude of the case, there may be a dozen or more people present, and you may have to wait your turn.

If you suspect that evidence has been tampered with or spoiled, immediately inform your attorney/client.


Consider pertinent testing, if needed. In some cases, this is your responsibility; in others, testing should be done by an independent laboratory. One argument for independent testing may be that you don’t have the required measuring devices; another is that independent tests appear more objective. Have your attorney/client contract directly with the laboratory so the lab results will be his work product. If you do the testing, it is usually best to rent the test equipment and have the supplier provide a report of recent calibration and accuracy of the instrument. You don’t want to be questioned about these issues regarding your meters while on the witness stand. Review, advise your attorney/client, and obtain written permission before proceeding. I wouldn’t hesitate to proceed, however, if your attorney/client is present, informs you that the other side has approved, and is aware of what you will do.

There are two types of testing: nondestructive and destructive. Do only nondestructive testing on the actual item that is the issue of the action. If the testing needs to be destructive, obtain an “exemplar,” an identical item. There may be others at the site or an exact copy may be available from the manufacturer. In any case, get permission before testing of any kind.

Sometimes, it is appropriate for you to observe testing by others. Also, you or someone else may be asked to write a “protocol” (procedure) for testing for approval by all parties prior to testing.


Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If what is involved interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer.

Get Jack’s new book: The “Complete Guide” to FORENSIC ENGINEERING to learn the details. Also, the largest chapter in his book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers the “highlights of Forensic Engineering”. Visit to find out more.

Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Find out how to be a forensic expert witness. Discover how to be an engineering expert witness. Find out how to obtain training as a forensic engineer. Learn how to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.