Sex & Relationships

21 Easy Ways to Appear More Intelligent

How to come across as the most erudite man in the room

Charm bosses, strangers, and friends alike with our guide to appearing more intelligent.


1 | Use the right words. 

The boffins at American Heritage Dictionaries list the top five words to make you sound more intelligent as: epitome, finagle, gregarious, panacea, and perfunctory.

2 | It's not just the words, but how you say them. 

"One stereotype of an intelligent person is that he is loud and projects his voice," says Michael Ronayne, director of the College of Public Speaking. "However, in reality, a clear well-paced voice in a normal tone is often a sign of confidence."

3 | Failing that, speak faster. 

Scriptwriters on shows like Chuck and The Wire have upped the word count significantly because, "The faster the characters speak, the more intelligent the audience feel they come across," says Psychotherapist Tom Barber.

4 | Make the right first impression. 

Strangers make 11 assumptions from your appearance within seven seconds of meeting you. "It's called the threshold effect," says Life Coach Dan O'Neil. "People determine several factors including your perceived intelligence from your immediate physical appearance."

5 | Look after your appearance.

"Attractive people tend to appear better adjusted, more popular and more intelligent," says Dr Liam Barker of Manchester General Hospital. "It's what psychologists refer to as 'The Halo Effect'. We want good looking people to be perfect and imagine them thus."

6 | Pay particular attention to your teeth. 

In a recent study, people who had undergone cosmetic dentistry were assumed to be more successful, wealthy and intelligent. " We have seen a big increase in clients asking to have their teeth improved before interviews," says James Russell of The London Smile Clinic.


7 | Learn to listen. 

"Emotional intelligence is just as important as IQ," says life coach Jude Jennison. "Listen to what people say and ask open questions such as how, what, when and where. You learn more by listening and, when you appear interested, people consider you passionate about knowledge."

8| Work on your memory. 

"Much of what is generally considered intelligence is simply the ability to remember things well," says Dating Coach David Wygant. "The ability to recite learned information will hold you in great stead.

9 | Go for brains as well as beauty. 

When asked about the women you love, drop Nigella Lawson, Helen Mirren and Gillian Anderson in alongside the more obvious Megan Fox, Gemma Arterton and Eva Green.

10 | Ask for help.

"Get someone to show you how to do something or explain. That's how you learn," says Professor Robert Hampson, Royal Holloway.

11 | Start wearing purple. 

"Purple is a color that suggests intelligence. Mix it with grey, a power color for men, to exude confidence and a deep inner intelligence," says Color Therapy specialist Julianne Bien.

12 | Wear glasses. 

A study conducted at the University of Melbourne's Centre for Eye Research concluded a relationship between intelligence and short-sightedness.

13 | Be confident. 

"People trust a confident person because they seem more assured," says Behavior Analyst Leah Butler-Smith.

14 | Breathe in. 

To appear more confident you should "Take deep breaths to send oxygen to the brain," suggests Body Language Expert Peta Fletcher.

15 | Fix your posture. 

The majority of social communication is body language. "If you have a tendency to slouch, people will think of you as lazy, shy or stupid," says Life Coach Rebekah Fensome. "Roll your shoulders back, chin up, maintain eye contact and be enthusiastic."

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16 | Broaden your mind. 

"Intelligence involves openness to a variety of viewpoints," says Dr Keith Frankish of The Open University. "Don't just read and listen to people you agree with, read varied subject matter and select books you wouldn't normally choose."

17 | Talk about yourself in the third person. 

"People don't realize the power that comes with it," insists stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia "The third person is how you indicate that a topic–your topic–is not open for debate. It turns whatever you say into fact."

18 | Confuse your audience with double negatives. 

"Whether you are enlightening them or not, they'll not dare question you and you won't not sound intelligent in any situation," says comedy coach Steve North. Don't ignore this–not never.

19 | Say you're smart. 

"If you keep telling people you're intelligent they'll start to subconsciously think of you that way. It's called the self-fulfilling prophecy," says psychologist Rose Aghdami.

20 | Fade to Gray. 

Everybody knows gray hair equates intelligence so ditch the Just for Men.

21 | Stop swearing. 

"People have a tendency to find conversation peppered with bad language to be less valuable and of lower importance," says Clinical Psychologist Roberta Galluccio Richardson. Which is obviously a royal pain in the shitter.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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