20 Tricks to Appear Smart In Meetings

Illustrator and blogger Sarah Cooper has published a hilarious and very true book “100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings“. This is a sneak-peak selection of the 20 funniest tricks you should totally use:

20 tricks to appear smart in meetings.


Draw a Venn diagram.

Translate percentages into fractions.

Encourage everyone to take a step back.

Nod and pretend to take notes.

Repeated the last thing the engineer said, but very slowly.

Ask "will this scale?" no matter what it is.

Pace around the room.

Ask the presenter to go back a slide.

Step out for a very important phone call.

Make fun of yourself.

Everyone else needs an explanation.

Turn multi-word phrases into acronyms.

Put sticky notes all over your laptop.

Invite people to the meeting who don't need to be there.

Make sure your presentation has a giant, useless appendix.

Ask if we're conflating multiple issues.

Turn nouns into verbs.

Alternate between agreeing and disagreeing with everything.

Say "that's obvious" at things that aren't obvious.

At the end of the meeting, ask if someone's going to email a summary.



 Add your comment
  1. Anonymous February 12, 2019

    I’m so glad I’m retired.

  2. Lou February 13, 2019

    I am conflated.

  3. Anonymous February 13, 2019

    Sorry I had to step out for that call, would you please step back a bit and repeat anything that isn’t obvious?

  4. thought-regurgigator February 13, 2019

    I wish I weren’t a freelancer so I could do this all day long!

  5. Judy Woizeschke February 13, 2019

    SO GLAD I AM RETIRED!!! That’s MY favorite!

  6. ken February 14, 2019

    before I retired – I did the Venn diagram and watched the eyes glaze over. being a veteran acronyms could just roll off my tongue. I was uninvited to some meetings and the entertainment at others.

  7. Anonymous February 14, 2019

    Do not, repeat, do not use #20. The immediate reaction will be, “Thanks, you take care of that, will you?”

  8. Daniel F February 15, 2019

    IFLAGA! (I f$%king love a good acronym)

  9. Robert February 15, 2019

    arrive late, leave early

  10. SBC February 17, 2019

    Most memorable quote from my former IBM manager – “Meetings are good provided there are no chairs in the room”

  11. Anonymous February 17, 2019

    Most of my managers including the President of our company practice most and often ALL of these suggestions! Time to step up my game! No wonder I haven’t been promoted! :)

  12. Anonymous February 18, 2019

    In other words anyone who us not half dopey will see through these moves and sounds with a ‘wtf” thought immediately, no ?

  13. Anonymous February 18, 2019

    Mike wild

  14. Michael February 18, 2019

    I’m frazzy at the moment so didn’t,, couldn’t read past the first 3 statements,,
    Crying out loud

  15. Mike February 18, 2019

    OK,,,still bemused, the worst form of ineffective psychology ever read, you will surely be beaten and disowned in any form of local book club globally,

  16. Slushy February 19, 2019

    Always bring a pocket full of tater tots to any meeting you attend

  17. Ice February 20, 2019

    Also: “Let me segue into …” and “Let me piggyback off off of of what he said …”

  18. Still_Working February 20, 2019

    What’s with all the retired people landing on this page?

  19. Anonymous February 20, 2019

    So happy to not be involved anymore with trying to impress others in meetings ! Retirement is a wonderful thing .

  20. Rev. Velveteen February 20, 2019

    How are we gonna monetize that? is always good too.

  21. FlameDance February 21, 2019

    #20 is the key to a successful meeting outcome: You can write whatever you want and is important to you. Other people’s input you can marginalize. Even better, that role is easy to get as nobody wants it (see comments above).

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