7 tricks to appear ‘smart’ during meetings

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  1. Translate percentage metrics into fractions

If someone says something like 25% of users click on this button, quickly add “so about 1 in 4” and make note of it. Everyone will nod their heads in agreement and will be impressed by your quick math skills.

2. Encourage everyone to take a step back

There comes a point in every meeting where everyone is contributing to the discussion, throwing around facts and figures except you. This is a great chance for you to say “okay guys lets take a step back.” You will have gotten additional smartness points by just shutting up the group discussion.

3. Nod continuously and appear to be taking notes

Always carry a notepad and take copious notes. When someone asks you if you are keeping minutes of the meeting loudly declare that they are your personal notes. You have just bought yourself free smartness points.

4. Pace around the room

Whenever someone gets up from the table and walks around, don’t you immediately respect them? It takes a lot of guts but once you do it, you immediately appear smart. Fold your arms. Walk around. Go to the corner and lean against the wall. Take a deep, contemplative sigh and everyone will want to know what is on your mind.

5. Ask the presenter to go back a slide

“Sorry, could you go back a slide?” It doesn’t matter where in the presentation you shout this out, it will immediately make you look like you’re paying closer attention than everyone else is.

6. Step out for a phone call

You’re probably afraid to step out of the room because you fear people will think you aren’t making the meeting a priority. However, if you step out of a meeting for an “important” phone call, they’ll all realize just how busy and important you are.

7. Draw a Venn diagram

Getting up and drawing a Venn diagram is a great way to appear smart. It doesn’t matter if your Venn diagram is wildly inaccurate, in fact, the more inaccurate the better. Your colleagues will begin fighting about what exactly the labels should be and how big the circles should be and your smarty points will be secured.

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