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.

86 thoughts on “20 Tricks to Appear Smart In Meetings”

  1. 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! :)

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

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  3. 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,

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

  5. #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).

  6. After someone finishes their thought, say “To build on that” then say something completely contrary.

  7. I was once a master of appearing deep in thought or listening intently with my eyes closed. Raise your chin and put an index finger diagonally across your lips. Nap.

  8. “…does it make the cash register ring?”

    “…with respect to…” (when bridging two points that barely go together)

    “For every action there’s and equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s Law, right?…”

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  9. We need a discussion, or we need a conversation with so and so, new buzz words. Behind moving forward, as we go forward, all these kinds of things, all that sorts of things, yada yada

  10. “in terms of…”
    “in this space…”
    “piece of work…”
    My greatest accomplishment in meetings is developing the ability to yawn with my mouth closed.

  11. hmmm…oh, yes–your concern…let’s “unpack” that… (i.e., I know your concern is legitimate, but I need more time to build a viable defense in order to maintain the appearance of possessing a modicum of competence)

    Can you “unpack” that for me/us? (i.e., I am/we are unwilling and/or incapable of performing a simple analysis of the issue/situation)

  12. I’m going back to work soon after a lovely break and the thought of having to deal with this shit again terrifies me.

  13. So so true. Worked for the Feds for a long time when “resonate, “disconnect”, our “talent” pool, management “piece”, and “brainstorm” were popular. It’s so refreshing to hear that intelligent people think the buzzwords of the day – and still to THIS day – are laughable and laughed at. They can intimidate newcomers though and are spread heavily around in interviews . . Let’s just cut to the chase in conversations and meetings and make them meaningful.
    SO enjoyed reading the comments here :))

  14. Works every time, set up a plan to have your admin or associate call the room that the ceo has request your presence, I’ve done this with long winded meetings, always ask that the notes be forwarded. I have a preset text ready to send.

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