11 phrases that instantly make you sound more intelligent and thoughtful

Ever wanted to sound smarter and more thoughtful when you talk, but without sounding like you swallowed a dictionary?

You’re in the right place!

This article will give you 11 easy phrases to use.

These phrases will show people that you really think about what you’re saying and that you care about making a good impression.

1. “That’s a great question.”

When someone asks you something, starting your reply with “That’s a great question” shows that you respect their curiosity and are taking a moment to think before answering.

This phrase not only flatters the person asking the question but also buys you a little time to organize your thoughts.

You don’t have to use it for every question thrown your way, but pulling it out for particularly insightful or challenging queries can make you seem more thoughtful and engaged.

2. “I don’t know, but I can find out.”

Pretending to have all the answers can often backfire and make you seem less genuine or, even worse, uninformed.

Instead, if you’re faced with a question or topic you’re not sure about, it’s perfectly fine to say, “I don’t know, but I can find out.”

This phrase shows that you’re honest, willing to admit your limitations, and committed to finding the right answer.

Plus, it’s a whole lot better than faking it and getting caught later!:

3. “Let me make sure I understand you correctly.”

This one is a gem, especially when you’re in a conversation that involves detailed or complex information.

Saying “Let me make sure I understand you correctly” before repeating back what you’ve heard accomplishes a couple of things.

First, it shows you’re really listening and want to get things right.

Second, it gives you a chance to clarify any points of confusion before the conversation moves on.

This can prevent misunderstandings and shows that you’re not just nodding along—you’re actively engaged and care about what’s being said.

4. “I see where you’re coming from.”

We’ve all been in conversations where we don’t fully agree with the other person.

Rather than jumping into debate mode, a great way to acknowledge their perspective is by saying, “I see where you’re coming from.”

This is a phrase I often use to build bridges in conversations. It shows that you’re open-minded enough to consider other viewpoints, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.

It sets a respectful tone and often encourages a more open, thoughtful dialogue.

Trust me, this one phrase can change the course of a conversation in a really positive way.

5. “I could be wrong, but…”

Starting a statement with “I could be wrong, but…” actually boosts your credibility rather than diminishing it.

While it might seem like you’re undermining your own point, what you’re really doing is showing humility and openness to other opinions.

It’s a softener that gets people to listen. You acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers, making others more inclined to hear you out.

When I’ve used this phrase in conversations, it often leads to a more balanced discussion and allows for the possibility that we might both learn something new.

6. “I need a moment to think about that.”

In today’s fast-paced world, there’s a lot of pressure to respond quickly, as if speed equals intelligence.

But here’s the honest truth: it often doesn’t.

Taking time to think is a sign of depth and consideration.

Saying “I need a moment to think about that” not only buys you time to form a more thoughtful response, but it also shows that you’re serious about giving a meaningful answer.

I’ve used this phrase when I’ve felt backed into a corner, and it always shifts the energy of the conversation, making it more thoughtful and less reactive.

7. “Could you elaborate on that?”

Asking someone to elaborate is a really effective way to show that you’re engaged and interested in what they’re saying.

Plus, it can be a lifesaver if you didn’t fully grasp their point the first time around.

This phrase gives them the opportunity to provide more context or detail, and it gives you a better understanding of their viewpoint.

It’s a win-win for thoughtful and informed conversation.

8. “I appreciate the challenge.”

This one might sound a bit surprising, especially when someone disagrees with you or questions your ideas.

Instead of getting defensive or brushing it off, saying “I appreciate the challenge” can be a game-changer.

This phrase flips the script and makes it clear that you see disagreement or questioning as a positive thing—an opportunity for growth or clarification, rather than an attack.

I’ve found that using this phrase can defuse tense situations and pave the way for a more constructive dialogue.

It’s a powerful tool for turning confrontations into conversations.

9. “That’s an interesting perspective.”

Sometimes you come across views that are entirely different from your own, and it might be tempting to outright dismiss them.

Instead, try saying, “That’s an interesting perspective.”

This phrase doesn’t necessarily mean you agree, but it acknowledges the other person’s viewpoint as worthy of consideration.

It’s a respectful way to handle differing opinions and leaves the door open for further discussion.

10. “Let’s agree to disagree.”

At first glance, this might seem like a conversation-ender, but it’s actually a smart way to handle stalemates where neither party is likely to budge.

Saying “Let’s agree to disagree” signals that you respect the other person’s opinion enough to let it stand, even if you can’t see eye to eye.

Rather than forcing a futile debate, you’re creating a space where differing opinions can coexist.

It’s a way of saying, “I value our relationship more than winning this argument,” and often, that’s the most intelligent move you can make.

11. “Thank you for sharing that with me.”

This simple expression of gratitude is more powerful than it appears.

Saying “Thank you for sharing that with me” accomplishes several things at once: it acknowledges the effort someone made to open up to you, shows that you’re receptive to new ideas or insights, and it even encourages more open dialogue in the future.

This phrase can be especially meaningful in more personal or emotionally charged conversations.

It’s an excellent way to close a discussion on a high note, leaving both parties feeling respected and heard.

And there you have it—11 phrases that can instantly make you sound more intelligent and thoughtful.

These aren’t just empty words; they’re tools for better communication, understanding, and connection. Use them wisely!

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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