6 Proven Ways to Appear Smarter Right This Second
Matt Jones for i-D Magazine
From trying something completely new to playing devil's advocate just for fun, there are plenty of simple, science-backed ways to stimulate your brain and get smarter every day. While these exercises can slowly rewire your neurological pathways, there are also some tips you can put into place that translate to appearing smarter right this instant. Good intel for interviews and first impressions, these simple tricks have been supported by studies and prove, for better or for worse, that so much depends on how we present ourselves. Read on for a few science-backed ways to look smarter, stat.
Look sharp. We all know that first impressions are important. So make sure your appearance is neat, and others will perceive you as more organized and in control. Here's an added bonus: Dressing smartly actually positively impacts your actual performance. A 2012 Northwestern study found that people who wore white lab coats (like the kinds scientists or doctors wear) scored higher on concentration tests than those dressed in plain clothing.
Be confident. Easier said than done, we know, but confidence translates to appearing qualified and able-bodied. If you find yourself struggling to feel confident, take comfort in knowing this is yet another "fake it 'til you make it" area where by simply pretending to be confident (like standing upright and giving firm handshakes) can make you feel confident. The power of intention!
Smile. Studies have found that when presented with headshots, those who smiled were rated as seeming more intelligent. It probably has to do with exuding ease. So show off those pearly whites!
Make eye contact. Another chip off the 'ol confidence block, looking someone in the eyes while speaking to them makes your conversation partner snap to attention. It generates a feeling of mutual respect and interest. Just don't go overboard and forget to blink like a normal human being.
Be expressive. Modulation in pitch and volume makes you come off as energetic, dynamic, and intelligent. If you're speaking with someone and feel that their attention is drifting, take note of how you're speaking. Monotone speech inflection simply comes off dull.
Be honest. The "Dunning-Kruger effect" states that less competent people overestimate their ability, while those who are the most competent underestimate theirs. So, be humble. If you don't know something, own up to it. It will probably make you seem smarter. Not to mention you'll hopefully learn something new, which means you'll actually be smarter. Win-win.