10 Simple Ways To get smarter
Everybody wants to look smart. They want other people’s respect and admiration. They want to be looked up to. The only problem is that oftentimes people go about appearing smart in all the wrong ways. If you are not careful, instead of looking smart you can look cocky, arrogant, and foolish. However, there are a few simple ways to look smart without falling into those categories.
Here are some ways to look smart without going overboard:
Much of our communication nowadays is done through writing. Text messages and emails make up a large percentage of our day-to-day interactions with other people. The best way to make a good impression is to use proper grammar and spelling. If you can use “your” and “you’re” appropriately and know that “a lot” is two words then you are ahead of the crowd already. Unless you are talking to your brother or best friend do not use shorthand, even in text messages. “K” is not a complete sentence.
Dress to Impress
Another aspect of appearing smart is how you dress when you see other people face to face. I know that sweat pants and baggy jeans are comfortable, but please leave them at home. Tennis shoes should only be worn on the court or at the gym. It does not take much to throw on a pair of nice, fitted jeans and a pair of boots. A shirt you actually purchased and did not win in a raffle or had thrown at you at a concert is also a good idea. If in doubt, go dressy.
Silence is Golden
“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” Proverbs 17:28 (NIV).(1) Do not think by talking a lot you can impress people with your intelligence. Even if you are knowledgeable about the subject, only interject when it will improve the conversation. Otherwise, keep your thoughts to yourself. This applies double when you are unsure or unfamiliar with a subject. If someone asks you your opinion, you will seem much smarter if you admit your ignorance than you would trying to fake it. People respect others who know what they do not know. It may seem counterintuitive, but the mark of an intelligent person is the ability to admit when they are wrong and learn from others.
As Thumper from Disney’s Bambi cartoon said, “If you can’t say something nice, then do not say anything at all.” No one seems smarter when they put others down. In fact, it is the mark of a weak person to have to appear stronger by hurting others. If you can’t be positive then say nothing. This also prevents anyone from using your words against you later. The less you say, the smarter you seem. Being nice to others also has the benefit of having other people on your side if you are attacked (hopefully only verbally).
This is a HUGE factor in appearing to be smart and even “cool”. Your body language tells people what you are thinking even when you do not speak. Watch what your body is saying. Your facial expressions can give you away in a heartbeat. Work on keeping your expression blank when you are upset, offended, or angry. This will make it harder for others to know when they are pressing your buttons and make it appear like you can handle confrontation well. Other body movements are important to keep track of too. Crossing your arms is defensive as is fisting your hands. Keep your posture relaxed and open to appear calm, cool, and collected.
Get the Gist
Sometimes you will have a document or book handed to you at the last minute and you want to look like you know what you are talking about. The best way to deal with that situation is to do a quick scan. Get the gist of the writing. Read the chapter titles or section headers. Take a look at bolded or italicised texts. Flip to the end and read the conclusion. Almost without fail the conclusion of anything is a summary of the whole article or book. If you can, try to take a few seconds to really read a paragraph or two to get a feel for the author and who they are writing to. Then use all these pieces to put together a general outline in your mind of the writing. You can usually accomplish all this in five minutes or less and have a pretty strong leg to stand on when questioned.
One of the most underrated and yet most important aspects of appearing intelligent is listening! You can glean so much from other people’s conversations. Pick up new ideas and concepts, learn important facts, know what is going on with the group, and really pay attention to it all. Many times holding an intelligent conversation with a person involves listening to them and then repeating their ideas back at them. To some this may sound inane, but it is true! You will appear not only smart but compassionate and considerate as well, gaining you new respect with whomever you come in contact with.
A sense of humor is an important thing to have. If you can laugh with others (not at them) then you will more easily become part of the group. A person that can laugh and make others laugh is always valuable. This does not mean you need to use gross, vulgar or slapstick humor. In fact, that is just what you should avoid. Try to use humor that builds others up, not tears them down. Go for jokes, quips or jests that everyone can laugh at; not jokes at any person or group’s expense.
Confidence is a huge part of appearing smart. Even a person with relatively low intelligence can be seen as smart if they are confident in what they know. If you do not feel confident, then fake it! I know that seems like it should not work, but eventually it does. You see if you get into the habit of thinking of yourself in positive ways then you will become more positive about yourself. The more confidence you pretend to have, the more confidence you get.
Let It Go
Do not sweat the small stuff. If you make a mistake or you misspeak, do not get embarrassed and withdraw. Instead, laugh it off and continue as if nothing happened. A problem is only as big as you make it. People will draw their reaction from your reaction. Even if someone is deliberately trying to put you down or degrade you, you can overcome him or her by not reacting. Stay cool and let the insults roll off your back like water off a duck. People who can control themselves are automatically seen as intelligent. Mistakes also make you memorable, and your reaction to them can make that memory negative or positive. Make a positive impression on others by the collected way you handle mishaps and you will be remembered as an intelligent, put together person.
As you can see, appearing intelligent is not as hard as it looks. The key is to stay humble and be strong. You are smarter than you think you are. Remember that the smartest people are not the ones that talk the most or the loudest. The smartest people are those that when they do talk, everyone wants to listen. Be the person that others stop and listen to. When you speak, have something real to say. Dress, write, speak and hold yourself like the intelligent person you want to be. You are whom you choose to be, so choose.