Finally I now know why bosses think some employees are intelligent even if they are not. Allow me to elaborate. There is a huge difference between being intelligent and feigning intelligence. Some just get by with tricks that often get misconstrued as actual cognitive prowess. For those who have mastered this skill I applaud you. For the rest of the world that actually tries to learn something new in order to be intelligent, here are some secrets unveiled.
Throw in a couple of nods, lean forward, squint your eyes as if you’re thinking about what was just said and even lean backwards as if to question a comment. Body language often precedes our words. Moreover, body language communicates more than what we say. When we use our body to agree, disagree or even seem to question topics, we need not say much to give the impression that we are attentive and contemplating about the topic. By mixing and matching your body language you may appear to actually understand topics without really knowing what in the world is being discussed.
- If the boss says something with gusto by all means mirror in agreement
- If the boss sounds adamant about something, you can even nod and bring your brows together as if agreeing to what he saying
- If there is a question and the boss is waiting for an answer, you may want to have a perplexed look then shift your gaze to another person as if you’re waiting for him to respond
One liner comments
20 years of meetings and observing people in meetings, I’ve noticed people who are actually productive and contributing as opposed to those present for the meeting food. Some feign interest in the topic and even knowledge about the discussion by blurting out one liner comments that seem to magically fit any situation. Throw in a couple every now and then, and your boss may have the illusion that you actually know what you are saying.
Agreeable one liner – these one liners are best used to show you are in agreement with someone especially the boss.
- True…that’s true
- I concur with that point
- In principle that’s a great suggestion
- I couldn’t have said that better.
- I can see where you getting at, that’s great.
Question one liner – this is quite tricky but when done effectively can elevate your status even if you don’t deserve it. One effective technique to pull this off is to say it calmly as you are really squeezing your brain for some answer (try not to, you may get an aneurysm). As a clincher, look at someone else as if soliciting an answer from that person.
- Will that address the core problem we are facing?
- How can we align that with our corporate philosophy?
- The idea is promising but what do we need to start the ball rolling?
- How do we jumpstart this idea?
- What do we need to do before we cascade the information?
- Do we have any wiggle room just in case?
- What about you, any ideas to add?
The contemplative one liner – these are best uttered when you’re caught out of guard and don’t know what to say. Sometimes it’s a question or just a lull in the discussion and everyone looks at you for some input. These situations can really bring you back to reality from your daydreaming while in the meeting.
- I haven’t reached a resolution to address that concern.
- Acting immediately but thoughtfully is a good course of action.
- I’m thinking about that as well.
- That is a very interesting point to consider.
- That’s a brilliant question we should all put are heads in to answer.
The art of rephrasing
This strategy can work wonders especially if your boss is the forgetful type. All you have to do is parrot what others have said but do it eloquently and it will be forever attributed to you. The key here is saying something in a witty way. The more memorable it is the better. Moreover, repeat it and stress It so that people will remember you saying it.
So there you go, these are three strategies to appear intelligent to your boss even if you are from it. In some instances you can get away with it in some, you can just come out as the annoying employee everyone hates. But hey, it takes time and patience to actually be knowledgeable.
When you work with all these three strategies you can create the illusion of being intelligent and knowledgeable. But just like any illusion, expect it to fade. So be on your toes.
Of course this is no quick fix to getting a better job or getting a pay raise. But when the moment is dire and when the only option is to look stupid or just fake it, then you know what to do.
More on employee-related topics:
- 5 Strategies to Love the Job You Hate
- How To Say No To Your Boss Without Getting Fired
- How To Work with Someone You Hate
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