Step 1: Improve Your Vocabulary
The simplest way to do this is to subscribe to a “word of a day” emailing list. I’m already guilty of having two of these applications on my iTouch, and keeping a paper edition on my desk. Ensure that you memorize the correct pronunciation and spelling of new words and phrases.
You can also use examples of sentences which can easily be found on the internet. For example, “The manifestation of the existential paradigm is infinitesimally larger than the exponentially evolved humanistic peon; indeed this precept is fundamentally beyond the cognisance of any finite mind.”
But take care not to overdo it, as constantly referring to a milkshake as a ‘partially gelatinated non-dairy gum-base beverage’ might not go over so well.
If you find this to be too challenging, make up words which sound real.
If your teacher asks you if it is possible for pigs to fly, you might respond with "Well, sir, that depends on several factors." But in order to make the most of this opportunity, you might try saying, “Well, sir, that's depensive upon several factors."
Depensive isn't actually a real word, but your teacher will usually assume it is if you say it right. He might even start using depensive in his own conversations.
If the time comes when some brainiac tries to expose you when you say "antiangular" instead of "straight," just respond with "A lot of times when it comes to dictionaries, many words are unlisted. Like phone numbers in a phonebook."
Step 2: Drop some impressive facts.
Did you know that the youngest pope was 11 years old?
Did you know that Bruce Lee’s moves were so fast; they had to slow down the movie when filming him?
Did you know that on an average day, a four year old will ask 437 questions?
You can talk for hours and it doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make – no one will know, and you will seem very smart.
Step 3: Ask questions.
Since people generally consider themselves to be intelligent and you are asking questions about the areas where they consider themselves to be experts, they will form the opinion that you must be intelligent as well.
You’ve displayed your knowledge, but left room for them to be the expert. This will make you appear far smarter than simply giving a monologue that tries to illustrate how much you know.
The next time you are conversing with someone who knows a lot about furnaces and air conditioning units, try saying: “I was reading about geothermal heat pumps. What do you think about them? Are they really as efficient as people say?”
Seeming more intelligent can be even simpler than following the steps I have already mentioned. Watch movies, play Trivial Pursuit and read Sparknotes. Also, you don’t have to always be the one to come up with the best ideas. Simply restating the best ideas, even when giving others credit, will make you look smarter. Also the less you say, the less you can say wrong. Even if you don’t understand, smile and nod knowingly.
Remember to look the part, improve your vocabulary, drop some interesting facts and ask questions.