14 behaviors that give people the impression you’re really intelligent

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People’s impressions of you tend to form rapidly. 

They watch how you behave and what you say and decide many things about you, often on the subconscious level.

It’s how evolution made us: to form quick impressions about somebody’s value. 

So what leads a person to decide that you’re highly intelligent? 

The answer is the following behaviors: 

1) Problem-solving in real-time

Displaying quick thinking and adaptability when faced with unexpected challenges or obstacles makes a very good impression. 

It shows that you’re resourceful and can think on your feet. 

Whether it’s a flat tire or a computer program run amok, when you respond rapidly and intelligently it leaves no doubt that you’re a smart and capable individual. 

People take notice of that valuable combination of competence and intelligence, and their respect for you goes up exponentially as a result. 

2) Independence of thought

Being willing to challenge conventional wisdom and think for yourself makes a very strong impression on others.

When you refuse to slot yourself into “left wing” or “right wing…”

When you find merit in scientific concepts and religious and spiritual paths…

When you keep an open mind about ideas and theories that others judge on the surface but you want to know more?

When you have unique insights and make up your own mind, people notice this and it makes a big impression. 

All of this shows a depth of thought that’s uncommon and refreshing.

3) Being widely read and informed

Being well-read across various topics and genres shows that you know what you’re talking about. 

You’ve considered perspectives and ideas from many cultures, authors and subject areas, displaying real curiosity.

You’ve read many classics, but you’re also familiar with comics and pulp fiction. 

You have an appreciation for poetry and literature, but you also like some gangster rap now and then. 

You’re hard to pin down in any one way, and you get your news from many sources, too. People can see that you’re a bright individual. 

4) Attention to detail and nuance

You notice nuances and subtleties in information, demonstrating precision in thought and action.

If you’ve ever taken the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) then you know how crucial information can be in assessing intelligence:

It’s not just memory and small subtleties, either, but judging how the weight and relevance of information shifts within contexts or a broader framework. 

When people see that you truly get nuances and contextual frameworks of information, they know you’re smart far beyond any basic level. 

5) Engaging in critical thinking

Approaching situations with analytical reasoning and questioning assumptions are two cornerstones of critical thinking. 

You are willing and able to think about things in a new way and question what you and other people believe. 

In your work and in your life more broadly, you use critical thinking to sift through information and claims that come your way.

You are respected and widely seen as smart for this reason. 

6) Curiosity about new ideas and concepts

You’re receptive to different perspectives and willing to consider alternative viewpoints.

It’s far from just theoretical, either:

You are willing to change and adapt your views and framework if you are presented with new information or proof. 

You are a constant learner and insatiably curious, living life and experiencing it to the full in a way that makes it loud and clear to everybody around that you aren’t just book smart:

You’re life smart. 

7) Innovative thinking and ideas

This ties into the previous point:

You’re always coming up with new ideas and ways of looking at things. 

You’re not afraid to push boundaries and experiment with unconventional approaches, either. 

You love hearing from people about the way they see it, too, even if you don’t always agree. 

In fact, you can often learn more from what you disagree with than from what you agree with. 

8) Continuous learning and growth

You seek out opportunities for personal and professional development, with a curiosity and appetite to learn more. 

You don’t reach a plateau and then put your boots up, you keep learning and improving

It goes far beyond career or earning money: you love to learn and grow because you can.

9) Strategic thinking and planning 

When you consider long-term implications and consequences, planning ahead, and setting goals aligned with broader objectives, it makes a big impression. 

This sets you apart from the majority of people who have trouble planning ahead and aren’t sure what they want to accomplish for the future. 

Not only do you have goals, you also have specific tactics and strategies for how to get what you want and how to react and respond if your first plan doesn’t work out. 

10) Mastery of a specialized skill

When you demonstrate proficiency in a particular field or skill set, whether it’s coding, graphic design, or playing a musical instrument, people take note. 

It showcases dedication and expertise to be able to master a skill

The same goes for learning a language and other abilities that you master and work on in your own time. 

The fact that so many other people don’t do this also inevitably sets you apart as somebody who does go the extra mile and learn new skills and talents.

11) Effective time management

Prioritizing tasks, setting realistic goals, and consistently meeting deadlines shows other people that you’re smart in a way that goes far beyond the abstract. 

You aren’t just bright at thinking, you’re good at actually getting things done, too. 

You can run your own life in an organized way and have a disciplined approach to work

12) Public speaking ability

Delivering presentations or speeches with confidence, clarity, and persuasion makes a very positive impression on others. 

Not only do they pick up on the insightful and smart things you say, but they also see your ability to translate your thoughts and feelings into a public message. 

This signals strong communication skills and the ability to articulate complex ideas effectively, both of which speak very well to your intelligence and mental abilities.  

This ties into the next point as well:

13) Communicating articulately

You express ideas clearly and concisely, using a diverse vocabulary and structuring arguments logically.

Even if you’re not an amazing speaker or verbally brilliant, you are able to come up with a way to express yourself that’s profound and touches others. 

It’s often about quality over quantity. 

You would rather say a few pithy words that really hit home and articulate a subject than many words which dance around the issue or don’t really mean much. 

People notice this, and it impresses them. 

14) Networking with intelligent people 

You can tell a lot about someone by their friends. 

When you network with intelligent people, it shows that you yourself are a smart and intellectual person. 

Not only are you intelligent, but you like to share ideas and be around others who are also mentally active. 

This speaks well to your motivations and tends to draw others towards you who are also interested in intelligent endeavors. 

They know that with you they are likely to meet other bright individuals. 

Smart cookie

Being highly intelligent gives you big blessings and gifts to use in the world. 

You have the opportunity to make a difference and connect up with other folks who are also on a unique and empowering path. 

There’s a catch about people noticing how smart you are, however: 

At the end of the day, the behaviors that show your intelligence to others come second to actually being intelligent and keeping that humility and openness to always be able to learn and grow. 

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