More often than not, how smart people think you are is more important than how smart you actually are; the powers of persuasion are not to be questioned. This is especially true for those working in highly social fields like sales, where success is based on your ability to engage and connect with others.
Furthermore, as Business Insider points out, "intelligence only explains about 20% of how you do in life; much of the other 80% comes down to emotional intelligence." The influence of EQ is so strong that 90% of top workplace performers reportedly have high emotional intelligence and make an average of $28,000 more annually than those with low EQ.
So how can you use your emotional intelligence and self-awareness to subtly influence the way people perceive you? According to a study from Loyola University, it all comes down to eye contact. Not only is looking people in the eye when you're talking to them a display of good manners, but it can also make your conversation partner perceive you as more knowledgeable and intelligent than average.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers asked study participants to guess the GPAs of 20 upper-division undergraduate psychology students based solely on their non-verbal cues during a taped interview. In the end, the subjects who made consistent eye contact with the interviewer were actually perceived as having higher GPAs. So the next time you're in a situation in which you'd like to make a good impression, remember: Always make eye contact.
For more, read up on the eight home habits that are actually a sign of intelligence.