How to Get Smarter or Appear Smarter
Of course you would like to be smarter, but wouldn't you also
like to appear to be more intelligent? Whether you want
to get a promotion at work or just impress your friends and others,
here are some tricks that will help with both goals.
1. Talk about what you know. You will always appear smarter
if you stick to topics you know something about. In fact, if
there are areas in which you are very knowledgeable, try to steer
the conversation in that direction.
2. Ask the right questions. Specifically, ask questions you
know the answer to. Then, when you add to the answer with a clarification
or another question, you'll appear to have understood the issue
3. Brush up on a current topic. People have opinions about
everything going on in the news, but usually without actually
knowing much about each topic. Pick one and learn more than the
usual. Have a well-thought-out alternate view and you'll definitely
look smarter. If people are debating tax issues, for example,
few will know what the "Laffer Curve" is, and why it
is so important.
4. Associate with intelligent people. People will notice if
you hang out with geniuses. Also, you can learn a lot from people
who are smarter than you. But it's better not to say much, except
for asking an occasional smart question.
5. Learn new words. You can read the "Enrich Your Vocabulary"
section of Reader's Digest or just open the dictionary and choose
a word to learn each day. Expanding your vocabulary can be a
way to impress others, but you'll get smarter as well, because
language is a big part of functional intelligence. But see the
6. Use words correctly. Yes, you can look smarter with a better
vocabulary. On the other hand, using a word incorrectly makes
you immediately look less intelligent. Learn new words, but use
them only when you know them well.
7. Specialize in some obscure area. If you know even a little
bit about the history of the Inuit people or the origin of gold
mining, you'll likely be the only one in the room who does. Not
only does this set you apart, but any errors you make will go
undetected. Of course, while talking a bit about your "specialty"
may impress, you might also bore your audience with too much,
so take it easy.
8. Compliment other people's ideas. Comment on your friends'
great ideas or their unique understanding of an issue. Oddly
enough, when you recognize their intelligence, they'll think
you are more intelligent (okay, it isn't that odd - just basic
psychology). In any case, we should give credit where credit
is due, right?
9. Know a little about many things. The next time you're in
a waiting room, instead of picking up the usual magazines that
interest you, browse several that cover subjects you're not familiar
with. Learn a little about many things and you'll not only seem
knowledgeable, but you might get smarter too. When someone brings
up their favorite topic, you can ask an intelligent question
and learn more. Just being familiar enough with the topic to
know what to ask will impress people.
10. Play intelligent games. Chess is a good game to play if
you want to impress people. The brain exercise it provides might
also help you become a bit more intelligentr. Learn how to play
Scrabble and you'll also get a better vocabulary.