How can I sound smarter at work? Believe it or not, this is a question I’m actually asked a lot. It’s usually from high-potential employees who want to be noticed at work by their manager or by leadership. It makes sense given that those who are considered smarter are more likely to be considered for a promotion and more likely to receive a pay rise, and it’s important for overall career advancement.
so in today’s blog, I’m going to share with you four super simple hacks you could apply immediately to convey intelligence at work for greater visibility. Hi, I’m Lilly and I help professionals to hack their careers overcome their limiting beliefs and confidently create the extraordinary life they deserve.
A massive caveat before I go any further though the reason why I’m sharing this topic. Because I have a lot of clients who are introverts or simply not getting any visibility at work.
They’re overlooked they’re undervalued and because of that, they don’t get any opportunities. so they basically become invisible and their career progression just comes to a halt. on the other hand, I’ve also worked with clients who are trying so hard to impress others that they’re being completely inauthentic to who they are so the key here is that.
These tips are not designed to make you feel fake in fact if you feel like a fake doing any of them don’t do them stick with what feels natural for you these are. Just suggest your intention for wanting to appear more intelligent at work should be because you want to be recognized for the real value that you Contribute.
Not because you’re feeding your ego. It’s a really important difference and I’m sure you get what I’m trying to say now that I’ve shared that let’s dive right in.
Simplify your language Increase Your Credibility
I’m a former lawyer and when I used to work in the legal industry. I noticed that a lot of people would use really complex and complicated language even to say really simple things. It was even worse on the email you needed a decoder to decipher what they were actually trying to say do you know someone like this sometimes at work, people feel like they need to overcomplicate.
Their message with too many fancy long words and corporate jargon but it requires far too much brain power to decipher. what they’re saying and the thing is a lot of people who do
I think they sound really smart but they don’t daniel Oppenheimer a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of California has found that people are actually considered smarter when their message is easier to understand. He says people associate intelligence with clarity of expression when you use too many fancy corporate Words.
you actually complicate what you’re trying to say for example you could say that based on the customer sentiments obtained via the NPS survey undertaken to ensure we’re leveraging best practice it implicates the project completion to be within a four-week Period.
You could say we’ve applied the best practice and customer feedback are positive so we’ll finish the project in under a month much easier to understand you’ll come across as composed and controlled.
Professional and you won’t leave people scratching their heads trying to figure out what you just said you also won’t come across as contrived and you’ll be seen as far more Approachable and authentic.
Boil it down two a single point
when you’re sharing information for example in a meeting or with your team or manager end with your one key compelling message say something like here’s what I believe or my point is this. it instantly re-engages your audience’s focus and brings back their attention and you’re controlling the key message that they’ll take away too often what I see are people sharing.
Their ideas or their perspectives are in a really long-winded way with no structure so it becomes really difficult for people to keep up and they don’t remember what you said. So to come across as more composed and clear when you share what you want to say you wrap it up with a short focused anecdote story
The key message is no longer than a sentence to leave people with one meaningful thought or Action. This goes a really long way in reflecting that you are considered and can consolidate information.
Be Confident For Smarter at Work
there’s a direct link between how confident you appear and how competent people believe you are this was first found in a pioneering study from 1982. This is why often the outspoken introverts are the ones to be promoted quicker. Then the quiet diligent Introverted people assume that if they’re confident then they must be smart and good at their jobs.
And it’s a really big shame for the quiet diligent ones who have always done. the right thing and performed really Well, but they’re quiet if you’re one of those quieter humble people maybe you’re an Introvert. At least if you’re aware then you can do something about it the point is all about practicing exuding confidence.
It could be around how you speak in a Meeting are you projecting your voice it could be how you present your ideas are you speaking with convection self-belief could even be around how you carry yourself around the office.
Do you have a confident demeanor do you stand tall with your shoulders back or do you slouch and look at the floor when you walk being assertive is also a really important part here. So you want to practice speaking your mind it’s really really helpful it comes down to practice.
And the more you start to take on more confident-looking behaviors the more confident you’ll actually start to Feel. More confident you’ll appeal to others which will impact how competent people believe you are.
Level Up Your Vocabulary Increase Your Credibility
I learned these from a business communication coach. I met more than half a decade ago the words that we choose to use at work have a huge impact on how we’re seen by others and how we come across. If you just simply make some tweaks to your language can absolutely increase your perceived Professionalism and makes you sound a lot smarter.
so instead of using the words problem issue or even challenge. All of which is often overused at work try and use the word complication the reality is no one likes hearing the words problem issue or challenge.
Because they’re very negative complications, on the other hand, doesn’t sound nearly as scary And it’s far less serious. Because it implies that you’re either working through it or you can work through it which gives a far more positive impression. So instead of saying we have a problem try we have a complication next instead of the word change using modify.
People don’t really like changes at work it frustrates them so even the word change might affect them negatively try swapping it for modification for example instead of we should change our plans based on the new information try should modify our plans based on the new information.
See how much better that sounds next instead of awesome or cool try fantastic or brilliant. I used to hear the word awesome shared really often at work. especially by more junior professionals but it doesn’t necessarily project professionalism if you’re trying to make a really professional first impression. next instead of asking someone to explain something try using the word elaborate let’s say a senior team member gives you a task and you don’t really understand it.
Instead of saying can you please explain what you mean try can you please elaborate this reinforces a position of credibility and it might even make you feel more confident in the moment? so instead of sorry, I don’t understand can you explain again you could say could you please elaborate on x point. so there you have four very easy hacks to appear smarter at work.
But more importantly to actually increase your visibility which helps with perceived competence. of course, everything I’ve shared in the four hacks is just optional based on whether you feel that they might work for you given your work environment, the company culture, and the people that you work with. And importantly you want to make sure that you’re still being authentic.
In the comments let me know which of the four hacks was your favorite and if you enjoyed this article.
I’m Lilly and I’ll see you next time.