10 Ways To Look Way Smarter Than You Actually Are At Work

Whether you’re starting a new job and want to impress the pants off your new boss, or are sick of feeling left out of intellectual discussions all because you just nod along while sporting a blank and lifeless expression, it’s time to take action.

If you want to be considered the office genius, keep reading. Here are 10 foolproof* ways to look way smarter than you actually are at work.

*Results may vary.

#1 Wear glasses

Everybody knows that people blessed with 20/20 vision are a bunch of dummies. What is the one accessory that regardless of your intellectual intelligence will always have you looking among the smartest in the room? A set of specs, that’s what.

You could always go to the optometrist and check if you actually do need glasses but that’s time consuming and expensive. Visit your local chemist, by a pair of cheap ones, pop out the lenses and voila – lookin’ smart.

#2 Dress really nice

They say you should dress for success. One way of tricking people into thinking you’re smarter than you are is to deck yourself out in the flyest threads possible. I’m talking a tucked-in shirt, nice slacks, some cuff links if you’ve got them.

Oh and a blazer, definitely a blazer. Nothing screams intelligence quite like a blazer.

#3 Change your name

There are some things in life you simply cannot change: where you came from, the fact that time is fleeting and death is inevitable, the price of avocados.

There are however forces you can control, like the name people call you. If your name is lacking zest or you think it’s the reason people don’t consider you to be especially smart, change it.

Here are some suggestions: Lord Nicholas Pythagoras, Mrs Eleanor Hypothesis, or Albert Einstein – I’m just spit balling here; you can come up with some better ones yourself.

#4 Take notes in meetings

For this one, I would suggest taking in a notepad with you. Firstly, just owning a notepad places your intelligence far higher than anyone else in the room.

Then, just keep that lil’ baby close enough to you than no matter what you write on it, nobody will be able to see it. For all they know, you’re intently taking notes to study over later, when in actual fact are using primary school techniques to measure your love compatibility with people around the room.

Who knew you and Kev from HR would be so compatible?

#5 Always have an excel spread sheet open on your computer

 The true test of intelligence is being able to seamlessly navigate Microsoft Excel, and that’s a fact.

Even if (like me) you have absolutely zero clue what the hell you’re doing, having one open on your computer screen is sure to make people think you’ve got your shit together.

If anyone asks what the sheet is for just respond with “I’d explain it, but I think it might be too scholarly for you to understand…” or my personal favourite, “please don’t talk to me”.

#6 Draw a Venn diagram

Pretty straightforward – diagrams only indicate serious shit. The kind of seriousness that only a smart person could handle.

Just be sure to label the diagram, otherwise your colleagues might think you’re just practicing drawing circles and let’s be honest, that’s not generally what smart people do.

#7 Synonym tool your life

In general conversation, do you ever hear your co-workers or friends say words that, if we’re being honest, you have no bloody clue the meaning of?


This is where a thesaurus might come in handy. Have a think to some of the most common phrases you might use on the daily, and smarten them up.

“The weather outside is nice today, isn’t it?” would become “The external climate beyond the walls of this establishment is rather enjoyable, would you concur?” Now that’s some smart talk – you get the gist.

#8 Surround yourself with smart people

One sure-fire way of being perceived as intelligent is to be smart-by-association. This means pinpointing the sharpest minds at your work and assembling a crew of really clever people.

This way, you can observe and study their way of life. And if people see you hanging with them they’ll assume you’re all one and the same.

#9 Apply some lipstick

Even if you feel like a wreck and are living off zero sleep, there’s one way of making you look as though you have your shit together – lipstick.

If you’ve taken that extra minute it the morning to perfect that bright red lippy, don’t think for a second it’s unnoticed. No literally – there’s a study, which found women who wear lipstick to work feel smarter and are perceived to be smarter by their colleagues.

#10 Lie

If all else fails, buy a hoodie that has an Ivy League school printed across the front, wear it every day and tell people you went there. Find a friend who is good at Photoshop and equally good at keeping their mouth shut to print you a fake diploma to frame and put on your desk.

Or just feel confident in your own intelligence and know that everyone has their own individual strengths and weaknesses. To quote the famously smart Albert Einstein, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.

Bradley is a writer from Newcastle who enjoys travel, Tina Fey and is a connoisseur of cheap red wine.