How To Appear Smart In Meetings (Even If You Don't Feel It!)
Whether it's a one-to-one with your manager, a team-building day, or a big presentation, how you present yourself can have a lasting impression on the people who matter to your success. How you act in a business meeting can directly affect how others see you. The good news is, looking like you know your stuff isn't rocket science. Here are a few things to consider that might help you fake it (smartness) until you make it.
Look The Part
While different industries have their own dress standards, there's no such thing as too well-dressed (well maybe a tux or ballgown!). With that in mind, you may feel your most comfortable in ripped jeans, Mickey Mouse sweater and runners, but if you want to know how to appear like the smartest person in the room to your clients, colleagues, and CEO, you should look well-groomed, clean and... well smart!
How you hold yourself in meetings should be a top priority. It says a lot about you even before you've said a word, so act confident as you walk in. Stand tall, shoulders back, and chin up. Once inside the room, be aware of your posture. Sit still, lean forward (this suggests engagement), and avoid nervous gestures like leg tapping or playing with your hair.
Ensure that guests are aware of this network by providing them with the login credentials by email or by making the network name and password visible in the conference room, this will help avoid any lost time during the connection process.
There are other non-verbal cues that can also increase your IQ in an instant. Eye contact is a great example of how to appear smart. It creates rapport, signifies trust, and suggests you're in command.
Research shows that connecting directly with the person you're talking to is 'one of the strongest and most accurate signs of intelligence'.
Did you know that wide open eyes (as opposed to droopy tired eyelids) signifies a rested face which gives a greater impression of intelligence? So relax, open your eyes naturally and try not to squint.
In general, other tricks to appear smart include well-timed, confident gestures like a firm handshake, unfolding your arms, and nodding while listening.
Say it Well
It's important to be heard in business meetings, but how you talk matters. Stick to your normal tone with a clear, well-paced voice. Remember, brainy people have nothing to prove, so while it's a great idea to broaden your vocabulary, only use language you feel comfortable with. If you don't use 'elucidate', 'obfuscate' or 'perfunctory' when talking to your friends, then using this jargon in meetings won't make you sound smart - it will make you sound like you're trying too hard.