1.) Wear glasses. It’s no secret that people associate glasses with intelligence. Look at any of your intellectual heroes, Jean-Paul Sartre, Noam Chomsky, Elton John. What do they all have in common? That’s right, they all wear glasses.
2.) Mix foreign language into everyday conversation. Holding the door for someone can be a chore, especially when you know all you’re going to get out of it is a boring old “thank you.” Next time you walk into your building and someone takes the time to hold the door for you, hit them with a “danke” and see what happens. They’ll probably be champing at the bit to hear your opinions on current affairs. If they dare interrupt you during your commentary on what you pretend to know about federal budget spending with their opinion on the matter, say “au contraire” and walk away.
3.) Tuck a pencil between your head and your ear. This gives the illusion that your time is so valuable that not a moment can be wasted fumbling around your pockets in search of a writing utensil to write down your profound ideas. Replacing the pencil with a pen will make it look like you’re not afraid to make mistakes, because you don’t.
4.) Massage your temples. Regardless of whether or not you know the answer, rub your temples when asked a difficult question. Massaging your temples makes it look as if you are so smart that it is actually causing you physical pain to separate the answer to this particular question from the sea of knowledge that flows inside your brain. It is imperative that you massage your temples for just the right amount of time. Massage them too little and it will seem forced, massage them too much and it will look like you’re struggling with the question. For best results, it is recommended that you massage your temples for approximately three seconds before attempting to answer the question. If you have facial hair, the same effect of massaging your temples can be achieved by stroking your chin.
5.) Sit with one leg crossed over the other. Sitting with one leg crossed over the other is one of the intelligent community’s worst kept secrets. Anyone who has ever attended a family party can recall seeing at least one of their uncles sitting this way. You may not think too highly of your Uncle Frank, but that doesn’t mean sitting this way won’t make you look smarter. As long as you can provide an educated commentary about something other than what kind of dip is on the table, people should be able to differentiate you, the intellectual, from the Uncle Franks of the world.
6.) Begin papers with a famous quote. There is no better way to start off a paper than to include a famous quote in the introduction. Contrary to popular belief, the quote doesn’t have to have anything to do with the actual paper topic. The whole point of beginning the paper with a famous quote is to say to your professor, “Here is something Nietzsche wrote, by the time you’re done reading my paper his quote is going to seem like something a four-year-old scribbles on the back of their placemat while waiting for their Cone Head sundae at Friendly’s."
7.) Develop a taste for coffee. Sometimes, a cup of coffee is the difference between saying something smart and forgetting to wear pants. The caffeine in coffee can help gain some awareness during the morning hours, but there is more to it than that. Drinking coffee all the time will make it look like you are in need of energy. If you follow the steps listed above, people will probably speculate that your fatigue is a result of staying up all night to work on secret science projects and study Victorian literature.