15 Ways to Appear Smarter Than You Really Are

More often than not, how smart people think you are is more important than how smart you actually are. This is especially true for those working in highly social fields – such as sales, where success is based on your ability to engage and connect with others. If you have an important meeting or interview coming up, or simply want to impress others and get them to think that you are smarter than you really are, then the following tips on our list will definitely help you.

Number One: Speak Properly

Refrain from saying “um” and “uh,” and eliminate “like” and “y’know” from your speech patterns. Get from point A to point B quickly in your sentences without using too many filler words.

Number Two: Be Still

Practice waiting, listening, and thinking before you speak or act. This sort of control will boost your emotional IQ and also make your brain IQ seem a little higher to an outside eye.

Number Three: Make Eye Contact

You already know that you’re supposed to do this anyway—it’s good manners, right? But it also makes you look smarter. Just don’t overdo it! Or people will think you’re creepy.

Number Four: Tack on a Couple of Initials Using your middle initial can make others see you as smarter.

This might be because people believe middle initials to be associated with higher social status, which makes them expect greater intellectual performance.

Number Five: Dress for Success

This one should be no surprise. Extensive research shows that how you dress affects how people perceive you. Dressing well makes you seem more intelligent, while showing skin makes you seem less intelligent, as it directs people’s attention to your body rather than to your brilliant mind.

Number Six: Wear Eyeglasses

This is a no brainer, and probably the easiest trick of them all. Research shows that people wearing glasses—especially thick, full-framed ones—are perceived as being more intelligent. So, if you want to seem smarter, leave your contacts at home. And if you don’t need vision correction, just slap on a pair of fake spectacles!

Number Seven: Put on a Genuine Smile

People who smile genuinely are perceived as more intelligent and more attractive than those who fake it. It might be because real smiles exude authenticity, which people usually consider an important factor when judging your intelligence.

Number Eight: Act Interested

People who appear engaged in conversation, make solid eye contact, and maintain an upright posture are rated as more intelligent. So, resist the urge to zone out when someone’s rambling on and on to you.

Number Nine: Speak Expressively

It’s not always what you say, but how you say it that leaves the biggest impression. If you want to come off as more intelligent in your next meeting, speak louder, faster and add in more vocal variation.

Number Ten: Carry Reading Material

You can carry around a copy of the Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal or a couple of books. By doing this, you will influence how others perceive you, and make people associate you with sources of information that they “think” are intelligent.

Number Eleven: Use a Thesaurus

Nothing shouts being smart more than having an extensive vocabulary. So, use a thesaurus to spice up your words! Just type any average word into an online Thesaurus, and let the internet do the thinking for you.

Number Twelve: Believe in Yourself

Nothing projects intelligence quite like confidence. When you believe in yourself, it shows! Believing in yourself improves your performance on cognitive tasks. Self-doubt, on the other hand, impairs your performance.

Number Thirteen: Stay on Top of Current Events

Read the news every day so you know what’s going on in the world. If someone tries to make small talk by referencing the current political developments or the latest Grammy Award winners, you won’t to be falling short.

Number Fourteen: Know When to Stop Talking

People who talk too much, often wind up revealing how dumb they really are. So, pay attention to what’s coming out of your mouth, and watch people’s faces to gauge their reactions. When in doubt, stop talking! And Instead, ask a question to give someone else a chance to speak.

Number Fifteen: Skip the Booze

According to studies, merely seeing someone holding a drink is enough to make them seem less intelligent. It’s not that we assume less intelligent people are more likely to drink; it’s that the perceived correlation between drinking and cognitive impairment is so strong, that we assume impairment even if there isn’t any.