100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings
Excerpts from the book - 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings
If someone says, "About 25 percent of all users click on this button," jump in with, "So about one in four," and make a note of it. Everyone will nod their heads in agreement, secretly impressed and envious of your quick math skills.
It's important to find out whether things will scale no matter what it is you're discussing. No one even really knows what that means, but it's a good catchall question that generally applies and drives engineers nuts.
\"Guys, guys, guys, can we take a step back here?" Everyone will turn their heads toward you, amazed at your ability to silence the fray. Follow it up with a quick, "What problem are we really trying to solve?" and, boom! You've bought yourself another hour of looking smart.
Write one word, such as "strategy," "goal," or "action plan," in big letters and with a double underline. Then just sit down. Your team will know you mean business.
\"Sorry, could you go back a slide?" They're the seven words no presenter wants to hear. It doesn't matter where in the presentation you shout this out; it'll immediately make you look like you're paying closer attention than everyone else is, because clearly they missed the thing that you're about to brilliantly point out. Don't have anything to point out? Just stare silently for several seconds, then say, "OK, let's move on."
If someone starts talking without announcing who she is, interrupt and ask, "Who's speaking?" even if you know who it is. This is a great trick to use when you know you probably won't say anything else on the call.
When someone mentions a large number, put it in terms of a city, country, or other geographic location. If you don't have one handy, just make up some population of people. Your coworkers will be impressed by your deep knowledge of the world census.
If someone is giving an update on a project, interrupt him and let everyone know how important this update is. Then ask the person to continue. This establishes your dominance over the meeting.
Start the conversation with a hard stop. This will make your coworker think that every minute of your day is smartly accounted for. Your coworker will now feel the need to get to the point quickly, and if he can't, he can send you an e-mail instead.
Pride yourself on "data-based" decision making and always ask to see the data before the conversation can move forward. If your coworker has the data, ask for more. If she has more, ask her to summarize it. By the time you get the summary, the data will be out of date, so ask for the latest data.
The practice of giving conference rooms cool names dates back to 1976, when it didn't work then, either. Simply pick a fun theme for your conference rooms and no will ever realize that this is where their happiness will go to die.
Asking someone else to run the slides for you immediately puts you in a position of power where you can say things like, "Next slide, please," "Just go back a few slides," and "Please try and keep up with me, Janet.".
Nothing makes you seem smarter than when you question the questions by asking if they're the right questions.
When someone asks for a business card, say you might have one left.
Asking for advice makes you look smart. Completely ignoring it and leaving everyone wondering why you bothered to ask for anyone's opinion in the first place makes you look like a CEO.