Meetings are a great opportunity to show off your smarts. You get to present your perspective, your viewpoint and your take on decision-making factors. Also, you have your team member’s undivided attention & concentration. It’s the perfect occasion to shine. But at the same time, you’re not sure exactly what you’ll need to do to make a good and lasting impression. Today, we’ll talk about just that. Here are the 8 best ways to appear smart in meetings and gain attraction.
The Best Way to Get People to Notice? Speak up!
Want to know how NOT to be perceived as a smart person in meetings? Sit silently throughout the course of the complete meeting. People simply can’t know how smart you are if you don’t open up and show them.
But most of us know the struggle: public speaking is one of the most common social phobias which people carry inside their head. So what can you do if you dread speaking up and saying your thought — but you need to if you want to appear smart throughout your meeting?
Two things: Practice and prepare.
Practice by visualizing public speaking to incorporate it in the form of a mindset. Record yourself and then go over your recording to adjust things like tone, posture, voice, etc.
Prepare by going over the meeting agenda that would be taken up. Didn’t get an agenda to work on? Ask your meeting manager to give you a few pointers over the agenda and on what you’ll be discussing in the meeting.
Good Meeting Manners Make You Look Focused
If there’s a single thing that you need to do to be perceived as a smart person in meetings, it’s this: Keep up meeting manners.
Realize, things like arriving on time and not checking your phone during meeting room sessions. Bad meeting habits make you look like someone who’s bad at managing his or her time in the professional world. And that’s not something you want your co-workers to see over your image, right?
Instead, stick to meeting manners that make you rise off as someone who’s laser-focused towards his/her work & commitments:
- Be on time, always. This way, you’ll show others just how much you respect their time & effort.
- Don’t hijack any conversation. While it is important that you make a contribution to the conversation by speaking, listening is just as important as is speaking.
- Leave your phone and laptop at your desk. You won’t need them, anyway. So focus on your work.
- Focus on your meeting agenda. You’re in the meeting room for a specific cause, so make sure you contribute with your unique skills, viewpoint and experience.
Use Power Poses to Subconsciously Show Your Strength
People don’t rate you and your personality based on what you say. They also rate you based on subconscious behaviour and cues.
In fact, those behavioural cues can have a much bigger impact than the content of your message or in fact, your body language. For example, how you pose signals to convey, how confident you feel. If you stand with your arms crossed, you come off as a withdrawn person. If you slouch, you seem to be an insecure person.
Your pose has a big impact on how much strength you signal. And if you come off as a strong & admirable person, this increases how smart people think about you. Further, if you want to signal more strength among your peers, sit up straight and keep your arms spread on the table. This way, you’ll signal your intelligence to a better extent. Further, you can use power poses even before the meeting. So, when someone joins in, he/she is aware of your presence and your commitment toward getting the work done.
Use the Right Keywords — They Make a BIG Difference
The way you speak to convey your message has a major impact on how other people see you. Also, its a major factor in how they will judge your perception towards the subject.
After all, filler words, for example, “like”, “or” and “hmm”, are considered as distracting. The statements made with “I believe…” or “I think…” seem to weaken your argument towards the discussion. So be sure while you make use of them.
Or best, skip them. To get rid of an annoying habit is easier said than usually done. But start practising speaking in private without throwing in a filler word in your spoken sentences and very quickly, you’ll get there. The result is pretty neat for the desired outcome: You come off as a smarter person than you were before.
Listen to More Stuff & Summarize Meeting Points
It’s important to speak up during meetings, but it’s equally important to listen to other’s opinion as well. You don’t want to end up as the person who gives a lengthy monologue without giving others a chance to chime in. This behaviour sounds equally rude and insensitive, so ensuring you don’t fall in the trap is your best take.
A great way to position yourself as a key member during a meeting session is listening. Then, speaking up occasionally, and further, summarizing all the important points at the end of the meeting for yourself as for others. Just remember to give credit to those who came up with the ideas during the session of your meeting period. This way, you come off as someone who engages in the conversation, gives credit to individuals and has an overview of the big picture.
And does that help you to appear smart during a meeting? You bet yes!
Change How You Speak to Get Your Message Across
There’s a mix of a science and an art to speaking in a way that makes you look (i.e., sound & sense) intelligent.
According to research by the University of Michigan, people who talk moderately fast with short pauses are most successful when trying to persuade someone to get a job done. Notably, people who talk slowly are seen as less intelligent & cooperative to work with.
So at your next meeting, try to speak slower or faster than you normally do and analyze your speech after it. Remember to use your posture to strengthen the way you speak and to become someone who knows what he or she is doing in that meeting room, what sort of purpose or problem you solve.
Use Science to Strengthen Your Points
People are usually persuaded by things that seem authoritative & elegant. And that’s something you could use to your advantage to appear smart in meetings.
A recent study conducted by Cornell University shows that much more people believe a statement if it’s accompanied by a graph. At the course of your next meeting, try this out by adding graphs to support the message that you want to convey to other members.
What more, try using supporting evidence by citing facts over to reliable studies and research papers. Using authoritative sources make you seem more knowledgeable & professional towards your work. At least, your co-workers will be amazed at how much seriously you’ve prepared for the meeting & bring quality to the room.
Do these simple things to connect with other meeting participants
One thing to note here is:
If people like you, they’re more likely to perceive you as an intelligent person. And there are some simple tricks you can do to connect with people during meeting room sessions.
First, smile the best you can. People who smile are seen as more intelligent than the ones with more serious facial expressions. However, this seems to depend on your background culture as well. For example, the Chinese link smiles with intelligence. On the other side, Russians are more likely to see people who smile as less intelligent. But if your culture values smiles in professional settings, you know what you need to do at your next meeting in order to look intelligent & smart.
Second, look people in the eye, it helps you. A recent study conducted by Marymount University proved that the people who looked at their meeting partner in the eye were perceived as much more intelligent than those who tried to take the eye contact away. If your meeting includes several people, make sure you look everyone in the eye when you speak as it is much more beneficial and a sign of strength to be perceived. If that’s not a possibility (say, there are too many people in the meeting room), look key players in the eye, like the company/project manager or your boss or the client.
To sum it up, you should focus on the things you say and subconscious behavioural cues you leave as a sign. Things like your manners, how you dress and how you say things influence how people see & perceive you. Most importantly, be sure to employ these tips to benefit. Put them to the test during your next meeting session and you’ll be perceived as more intelligent by your coworkers. All the best!