7 Ways To Seem Smarter Than You Actually Are In Business Meetings


One way to appear smart in business meetings is to have good ideas.

But if you’re anything like me, it can be bothersome to engage in a meeting when all you’re actually thinking about is what you’ll have for dinner that night.

Thankfully, there are ways to seem smarter than you are in meetings while also sending your mind to happier places. Below are 7 of them.

1. Walk in Late

Walking in late lets your coworkers know that you’ve got some really important sh*t on your plate. Bosses way high up in the ranks are waiting on your analysis, and yes, you did need the extra five minutes to wrap it all up. In reality, you took the extra time finish your gchat conversation about the embarrassing thing that intern did at the company party last week.

2. Ask, “Will this benefit the user?”

When you snap out of your daydreams and realize you have no clue what anyone is talking about, take the opportunity to lean forward and say, “Woah guys, what this really comes down to is the user. Will this benefit the user?” Then settle back down in your chair and bask in the respect you receive for reminding everyone what matters most.

3. Do some math

There’s little people are impressed by more than quick math skills. Make an observation from the PowerPoint slides you’ve been ignoring, “So if the click through rate on that ad was .25% in June, and .75% in July, then that’s a 200% increase in performance.” Everyone will admire your mathematical wizardry and try to figure out what caused the jump while you go back to pondering why San Francisco has so many Chinese restaurants.

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4. Reference your network

Referencing your connections and exaggerating the size of your network is a surefire way to make your coworkers think you’re going places. Tell them you just had cocktails with so-and-so and that he or she would be happy to join the next meeting to share some insights.

5. Lead brainstorms on the whiteboard

What could make you look more important than standing at the front of a room with everyone looking at you? So take the reins and start a brainstorm. This means writing down what everyone contributes and saying things like, “really think outside of the box here,” or “what else?” while offering no ideas of your own.

6. Use industry lingo

Using industry lingo to explain simple concepts is a great way to sound like a pro. “They served us 250,000 impressions at a $10 CPM and we got 500 clicks, so we paid an eCPC of $5. Let’s get that down to $3.” While the team decides how to optimize for this and that, you can go back to drooling over dessert boards on Pinterest.

7. Take a call

Throw an apologetic glance around the room and excuse yourself to take a call. While you’re chatting with the pizza delivery man, your colleagues will be envious that you have more pressing responsibilities than the meeting at hand.