The word ‘smart’ has arguably become the most common word to be associated with intelligience. I mean that’s partly why we have the usage of the term ‘smart’ phones. Thus, this further foregrounds the importance of appearing smart. Futhermore, the nature of interviews seems to have changed so much in the world today that it’s not really always the most brilliant person in the room that gets the job. In fact, it has been said that the American Billionaire Jeff Bezos is usually more concerned about how candidates answer behavioural questions, as opposed to how they answer technical questions.
It goes without saying that some people are smarter than others. This can be as a result of several complex factors like environment, genetics, temperament etc. However, that doesn’t mean anyone can’t appear to look more intelligent than they actually may be.
Success in business requires 80% people skills and 20% technical skills- Anonymous
Without doubt, intelligence only explains about 20% of how we do in life, much of the other 80% boils down to emotional intelligence (EQ). Research has shown that people with high EQ’s have 50% chance of performing and earning more than people with low EQ’s. The hallmark of emotional intelligence is self-awareness, which involves not just knowing how you are but also how other people perceive you. People with high emotional intelligence are better able to answer behavioural questions and alter their behaviour to make the most of a given situation. Truly, in the world today, you are most as good as you make people think you are. Now, some of you may think but this goes against the rule of integrity, but if you look at it from the flip side, you would see that it doesn’t it. For example, if a company needs a professional writer, with at least 5 years experience and you have only 2 years experience, depending on how well present yourself in the interview, you could make them feel like you have more than just 2 years experience. It really just boils down to emotional intelligence. Branding in the business world is not just for companies only, individuals can brand themselves.
I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow- Woodrow Wilson
You may not be able to carry out a personality overhaul or change your genetics, but there are simple and arbitrary ways to appear smarter than you are.
1. Self- Confidence
I was watching a programme some days ago, where some women were talking about whether a man has more confidence than a woman. Now, of course it goes without saying they all agreed that men are not more confident than women. Truly, self- confidence is not the special preserve of any gender group or character trait, like some would claim (cholerics are confident, phlegmatics are not ). Nothing projects intelligence like self-confidence. Self-doubt would damage your performance anywhere you find yourself. Some call it low self-esteem. Before going for a job interview or contract, you should first ask yourself, would you hire someone like you? If you ever find yourself having issues with confidence, then you should check the people around you, because sometimes people around us can either help to build or destroy your self-confidence with the words they say to you. One important thing self-confidence does for you is that it makes you come across as leader, and as you may already know, everything rises and falls on leadership. A 2002 study found that people who were perceived as leaders were more likely to come across as highly intelligent.
2. Dress Like You Mean It
I’m sure you must have heard people say you look smart today, right? Most times, its your way of dressing that prompts that statement. The saying: ‘Dress the way you want to be addressed’ really is not a myth or rhyme. Its just the truth as plain as you can get it. Research has shown that how you dress affects the way people see you. There’s no doubt that appearance says a whole a lot about you before you even open your mouth to describe yourself. It can set the tone for how you would be perceived by others, and as you know, it could take just 5 seconds to create an impression and 5 years to change people’s perception of you. A recent study by a university in America found that making people wear lab coats improved their performance in tasks that required a lot of concentration. Dressing well makes you seem more intelligent, and showing off too much skin not only makes you seem less intelligent, it focuses people’s attention on your body, rather than your mind.
3. Simple Words Can Do The Trick
A young man once told me `The greatest sign of a good English speaker is not how he uses big words but how he uses small words.’ Using big words in your resume or when speaking isn’t a sign of intelligence. In fact, you would create more complications for yourself, because people may find it tougher to understand you. True intelligence speaks for itself, so you don’t have to bother yourself trying to impress people with vocabulary. Big words wouldn’t get you any farther than small words will. A word is big not just because it’s rarely used but because it carries weight.
4. Eye Contact and Handshake
I know you must have heard of the miracle these two factors can do in making you seem smarter than you are. Its good manners, right? A research conducted in a university showed that people who manage eye contact effectively are more likely to get a job and understand better than people who dont. Also, shaking firmly, with people exhumes the kind of self-confidence and character that you can’t buy anywhere. It sure makes you cut across as a smart person.
5. Express Yourself Like You Can
Have you ever heard people say `I just dont know how to explain it but its just in my head…I really wish I could find a way to make you understand it’. Well you better find a way, ‘cos if you dont, it will just remain in your head. No matter how bright your ideas are, they would forever remain in your head if you cant explain them to people. When people understand you, you get their attention. Communication Experts say that even if two people say the same thing , the one says it most expressively (i.e. a little faster and louder, albeit with few pauses and greater variation in volume) will be perceived to be more knowledgeable and smarter. So, if you want to come across as more knowledgeable, have a good mastery of your your speech by varying your speed, volume, and pitch. For the guys, leave that very deep romantic bass tone voice for the bedroom, it may not get you want outside the four walls of your room.
6. The Glass Trick
Reseaech has shown that those who wear glasses, whether with full rim or rimless, usually appear intelligent and smart. According to a research carried out on 76 people in a university, people wearing glasses were rated as more intelligent than people without glasses. Whether you call it the nerd look, wearing glasses makes you look smarter.
The best way to convince people to believe in you, is to first believe in yourself.
Biologically, Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is usually determined at an early age. However, if you’re not able to alter your IQ, you definitely can do something about the general perception of you out there, by honing your Emotional Intelligence skills. Emotional Intelligence would help you know how to apply the tricks to appear smart. If you be it, at least look like it and make a conscious effort at learning what you need to and when you need to.