Most of us put a considerable amount of time and effort into looking intelligent. Sometimes we try harder than we’d like to admit. This is why it’s so important not to undersell your intellect by making one of the silly blunders listed below. None of these mistakes mean that the person making them is stupid – but unfortunately, they can make us appear so if we are not careful.
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Here are four things to avoid doing when trying to appear intelligent:
Talking Too Much
When we want to show off how smart we are, there can be a million things that we’d like to say at once. Think of an overly chatty person though – do they seem intelligent when their mouths are flapping on at a mile a minute? Not only will you bore the person with whom you are conversing, but you will appear to be self-absorbed and careless. Robert Greene considers silence to be a dominant position, and recommends saying less than necessary when you would like to appear powerful. Furthermore, the more you speak, the more likely you are to say the wrong thing. Choose your words carefully, and pick only your strongest opinions and most interesting anecdotes to share. You will be less likely to flail this way, and much more likely to impress.
Nobody, least of all a woman like myself, appreciates being told how to dress herself. However, your clothing and your grooming habits are the first message you send to people about who you are. Dress how you like, but make sure that the message you are sending is consistent with how you want to be seen in a given situation. A fringed mini dress may look stunning on your runner’s body, but wearing it to a board meeting will likely make you appear less serious than you would like. Save it for brunch with your college friends who love and appreciate your fun side! Be yourself – you should never feel as though you are wearing a costume. Just make sure you are doing so in a way that is appropriate for your environment. You may opt for a black pencil skirt for that board meeting instead, but don’t be afraid to add a funky statement necklace, a bright silk top, and killer shoes!
Why The Seemingly Messy Ones May Be More Intelligent
Everyone has a strong need to be heard – and nowhere is it more important for you to satisfy this need than in the workplace. Appearing disinterested can be the unintentional result of texting, being unresponsive in conversation, or simply staring off into space – and doing so can absolutely kill your career. Displaying a lack of interest, especially in the office, makes a person look lazy and juvenile. It also signals a lack of ambition and makes you less likeable – both of which can keep you from getting promoted to a higher position. Becoming a good listener is one of the most powerful things you can do for your career and your personal life. It also makes you appear thoughtful, intelligent, and mature.
It is often tempting to try to build ourselves up in another person’s eyes by bringing someone else down. When we disparage another person’s intellect or character, we think we will look smarter by comparison. However, this tactic actually has the opposite effect. Passing judgement on others makes you appear not only gossipy and unsympathetic, but unintelligent, as well. By judging someone else, you are showing that you lack the compassion and intellect needed to understand the circumstances that have led them to where they are. Also, you may be missing some facts, which will make you look ignorant as well. When you focus on another person’s flaws, you are actually putting your own on display and showing yourself in the most unflattering light.
The simplest way to show off your intelligence is to talk about a topic in which you have a genuine interest, and let your passion speak for itself. However, don’t forget to give the other person their space in a conversation. Listening is one of the most powerful and underrated ways to make a connection. Most of us look our most intelligent when we are saying nothing at all!