How to look smarter during brainstorming sessions
Office life
Are you someone who, time and time again, comes up empty-handed during brainstorming and collaborative team sessions? Well, if you can't get any better at it, why not fake it? Take our tips on how to pretend you know what you're doing...

Let's be honest—no one likes spontaneous brainstorming (or any other collaborative) sessions and being put on the spot.

Have you ever been surrounded by colleagues frantically scribbling and shouting their ideas around the room while your mind is blank? Well, here’s how you can come into the new year looking switched on even if you’re still feeling a little blank minded.

Fake it till you make it…

Use long words

When brainstorming aloud with your colleagues, use the longest words you can think of. Pull out the big shots with words like 'conflating', 'amalgamate', and 'ubiquitous'—they'll probably google them when they return to their desks.

Make charts, graphs, & diagrams

Start making charts, graphs, or diagrams on your computer or notepad. Create a smart-looking and all-confusing chart, graph, or diagram to begin 'laying down the groundwork' and make sure they see it—it’s not really worth the effort if they don’t.

Or be the facilitator of the group and show up with a whiteboard, flipchart, or a stack of post-it notes. If anyone retaliates and says you’re not contributing enough remind them that they’re using your supplies.

Maintain eye contact & ask questions

When someone in the team voices their opinion, look them in the eye. We don't mean make them uncomfortable by staring but look engaged by giving them your undivided attention. Appear smart by nodding your head, agreeing, and adding the occasional 'mmm', 'could you elaborate that further?', and 'will it scale?'

Wear glasses

Yes, it's obvious, but it works. If you can pull off wearing glasses, you'll trick everyone into believing you're a wiz at your job, because you must be smart if you’re wearing glasses, right?

When brainstorming, tap your pen against your forehead or chin to make them think you're coming up with brilliant ideas. If they try to interrupt your 'thought process', say something like 'hang on, I don't want to lose my train of thought'. You’ll seem important.

Say, 'yes, that's evident'

If your colleague says something interesting or intelligent that you start beating yourself up over for not saying first, act like you knew it by replying with 'yes, that's evident'. Because you knew it already, right?

Use quotes

Quote a few things that will make you look intelligent and knowledgeable… but don't overdo it, or you’ll come across like you’re overcompensating, and nobody wants that.

Assert your intelligence by quoting an authoritative figure or take it up a level by spouting a fact or study relative to your work. No one will question it, and everyone will think you know what you're talking about—so it’s not a bad idea to memorise the fact like your life depends on it.

On a serious note, do you have a question for us? If you’re a job seeker on the lookout for your next role or a hiring manager looking to fill a position, contact us at Just Digital People! We’re here to help you succeed.