HOW TO: Seem a WHOLE lot smarter than you really are.

August 2, 2009·

This is the SECOND edition of Molly’s HOW TO posts. I figure that over the years, I have gained some really important knowledge and it is my duty to disseminate that knowledge to the interwebs and those who peruse the interwebs.

you dont have to be THIS guy to look and sound smart.
you don't have to be THIS guy to look and sound smart.

This week’s edition: “HOW TO: Seem a WHOLE lot smarter than you really are.”

Let’s be honest, these days, people are judged not only on how they look, but also by their breadth of knowledge of hot topics. Being smart is now SEXY. Well, not all of us are MIT grads or Nobel Prize winners, BUT that doesn’t mean that we can’t keep up with the Jones’s and at least, SOUND smart. So, here are just a few ways that YOU, too can sound like a walking encyclopedia Britannica.

STEP ONE: Vocabulary. Using big words will ALWAYS get you far. This doesn’t mean that you need to bust out the dictionary and make 1,000 flash cards… this just simply means that you have to learn a few key words and keep them in your big-word-vocabulary-arsenal. Here are a few to get you started:

  • pedagogy: the art or science of being a teacher, types of instruction
  • jargon: terminology which is especially defined in relationship to a specific activity, profession, or group
  • aforementioned: mentioning something that came previously in conversation or a written piece (i.e. the aforementioned vocabulary words)
  • subsequently: following, afterwards
  • engender: to cause to exist, develop, procreate, beget (also a good word to use)
  • derision: the use of ridicule or scorn to show contempt
  • disseminate: to sow and scatter principles, ideas, opinions, and errors for growth and propagation, like seed

Memorize these. Love them. Then use them in conversation. It is COMPLETELY okay to steer a conversation in a specific direction in order to set you up to use one of these words.

STEP TWO: Reference Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde. This is simple. Memorize at least one quote from each. Then, in conversation simply say, “You know, this is just like that old Shakespearean/Wildeian saying… INSERT QUOTE HERE.” You will wow any crowd with your recitation.

Good examples of quotes:

  • “Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff / As dreams are made on; and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep.” -William Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST.
  • “America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.” -Oscar Wilde

STEP THREE: Memorize at least one current fact about the economy. This is pretty self-explanatory. Look up something from the stock ticker and bring it up in conversation. No need to explain, just say, “MAN, CAN YOU BELIEVE _________?” Then simply say, “I know man, me too…”

STEP FOUR: Say you ONLY read The Economist. People magazine, US Weekly, and the comic section are things of the past for you. The Economist is the only trusted, and unbiased source for information, and you read it. Daily. No questions. [The key is you don’t ACTUALLY have to read it… just look at a few headlines and make sh*t up as you go. You’re the king of knowledge now. OWN IT.]

There you have it. You are now on your way to sounding a whole lot smarter than you really are. Own it. Live it. LOVE IT. Fake it.

All for now.