Eight Tips to Make Yourself Appear More Intelligent and Professional

“The world is governed more by appearance than realities so it is fully necessary to seem to know something as to actually know it.” -Daniel Webster

I wish that appearances didn’t matter, but they do. Reputation is everything to businesses. It is also important to many people.

A person’s mind makes snap judgments about any new person they meet. It is human nature to do this because it is a mechanism that was required in order to survive back when times were more dangerous.

First impressions can often be wrong since they are based on a person’s past experiences, their current mood, the other person’s mood and so forth. I suggest when you are a meeting a new person that you be open and try being non-judgmental and at the same time I understand how difficult this can be. We can only start to change the habit of instant judgments by changing it in ourselves first.

This article isn’t about changing that habit though. This article’s purpose is to give you eight tips on how to appear more intelligent and professional. In most professions and even in dating you will want to make a great first impression and a continual positive one too. Making a shitty first impression causes you to waste valuable time trying to change it. These will help you not let that happen.

Do Not Speak and Write in Slang/Texting Language

People in the professional world do not want to read an email where the grammar is in slang/texting/twitter language. They do not want to read, “U hav that papr I sent u?”

A picture of kids texting

Foster the habit of writing your emails and even your text messages in proper English. It will make you come off as well educated.

It is an easy way to improve your image, so take the time to write things out.

Think Before You Speak

Have you ever ran into someone who sticks their foot in their mouth? They never seem to think before they speak. They blurt out whatever comes up and end up looking foolish or hurting someone’s feelings. If you do this, realize that it can make you come off as out of control and stupid. It also can damage relationships.

Don’t do this.

Think before you speak. If you have trouble with this then take two seconds before you speak to gather your thoughts.

Do Not Say Like Every Other Word

Saying “like” a lot when you speak tends to be an issue with people under 30. This is how some people speak, “Hey like do you want to go to the movies like there is a really good movie out like uh that new apes one ugh like what it is called um…”

Do you want to hear a 20 minute presentation from someone who speaks like that?

I know I don’t.

Speaking like that makes you seem dumb and it is annoying to listen to. Use like when it is appropriate, such as how I used it in the last sentence. Doesn’t this sound better, “Hey, do you want to go to the movies later? I hear that the new planet of the apes movie is really good.”

I think it does.

Catch yourself if you say like a lot. Fix this habit. It will enhance your professional life and your dating life too. You don’t hear people like Mark Cuban saying like every other word.

Here is a tip if you have trouble with saying like even after slowing yourself down before speaking. This helped me break the habit when I was a teenager. Get a rubber band and put it around your wrist. Whenever you catch yourself saying like a lot, snap the rubber band. The habit should fade away after that. A negative consequence can be a powerful motivation for changing a behavior. Being aware of it also helps you change it. You can’t stop what you aren’t aware of and don’t accept. 

Dress Well

Which guy would you rather want working for you?


HillBilly Rocking Out

Young Man Dressed Well

I know I would want the person who dresses well. Maybe if the guy with the headphones was an absolute genius in a particular field then I might want to work with him, but 99% of the time my first instinct would make me want to work with someone who takes care of themselves. The first impression I get from those images is that the guy dressed well is hip and smart and the other guy is a dumb hillbilly. A harsh judgment, but that’s what comes to mind.

Having good hygiene is important in the business world and in the dating world. Take care of yourself. It has so many benefits. It makes you appear more intelligent, professional, confident, attractive and more.

Do not say you do not have the money to do it. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to dress well and take care of your body.

Good Eye Contact

When you are talking to another person, good eye contact gives off the signal that you are confident. A person’s reaction to a confident person is to think they are intelligent and that they have it together. Making good eye contact also shows to the other person that you are listening and care about what they are saying.


A business Lady Listening

Studies have shown that people who smile are more often seen as attractive and confident than people who do not smile. Smiling will make people think you are easy going, confident, and friendly. When a person likes you they tend to have a more favorable opinion of you. They will assume you are more intelligent, professional, and confident than you may actually be.

As long as you don’t have a creepy smile, smile more often : D.

Have Good Posture

Business People Talking

This one goes along with the two above. Having good posture will help you appear more confident and show that you have positive self-esteem. It will give off the vibe that you are intelligent and that you are someone who can be trusted. It is also healthy for your body.

Look at the above picture. The guy on the right is slouching with his arms crossed. He is in a defensive position. He isn’t open. You can’t see his face, but from what you can see, he doesn’t seem friendly. He probably wouldn’t be someone you would want to deal with on a regular business.

The blonde lady on the other hand appears open, friendly, lively and talkative. She gives off the vibe that she is confident and intelligent. I would want to work with someone like that rather than someone who appears ready to criticize everything.

So catch yourself when you are slouching.

Do Not Talk Badly About Others Behind Their Back

Just don’t do it. It makes you seem petty and makes people think that you probably talk bad about them to others also. It gives off a negative vibe to people, which will make them think less of you. It also isn’t very nice.

Most successful people don’t want to be around negative people. They drain your energy. If you are constantly negative and talking bad about others then people will start to think you have a low emotional intelligence.

So stop this habit if you have it.

Hire a therapist to vent to or keep the bad mouthing at home. It will damage your professional reputation if you do this. If you are constantly negative then learn how to reframe your thoughts. 


First impressions are important. You don’t want to get stuck having to take the time to try to fix a wrong first impression.

I hope that these tips will help you on your way to success in your professional and personal life. They will help you make a great first impression and a continual positive impression a large majority of the time. I can’t say all the time because some people are extremely negative and will not like you no matter what. Screw those people though.

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11 thoughts on “Eight Tips to Make Yourself Appear More Intelligent and Professional

  1. Cathy Taughinbaugh

    These are good reminders here, Sebastian. Things have gotten so casual these days, it’s hard to know who is a professional. I like the low key attitude, but sometimes it does go too far. It is what is inside, but appearance and how you present yourself helps. Take care.

    1. Sebastian Aiden Daniels Post author

      I am glad you found them to be a useful reminder. You are right that the low key attitude is nice, but it can be detrimental if you are working on a very important project. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. napa

    good piece. simple things we sometimes forget especially in today’s day and age :)

    1. Sebastian Aiden Daniels Post author

      Thanks for stopping by. That is true :D .

    1. Sebastian Aiden Daniels Post author

      You’re welcome Sreerah. I am glad you found them helpful.

  3. Kelly Hashway

    Great tips! Everyone should think before they speak, whether they are trying to be professional or not. Otherwise, you’re just asking for trouble.

    1. Sebastian Aiden Daniels Post author

      Very true. You can do some damage by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time : D.

  4. Emebu

    Hello Sebastian, this are highly educative tips! Everyone should think very well before they speak, whether they are trying to be professional or not.

    1. Sebastian Aiden Daniels Post author

      I am glad you found them useful emebu : D.


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