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5 Ways to Look Smarter at Work

Topics: Career Advice
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Want to get ahead at work? Simply being good at your job isn’t enough. You have to help people notice your skills.

You don’t have to wear Tina Fey specs to be thought of as a smartypants (or Bossypants) at work. There are, however, certain ways that you can shrug off your “don’t know, don’t care” attitude and come across as engaged, interested and downright clever.

Listen up, and start knocking the socks off of colleagues today!

1. Sorry, You’re Not Sorry

If you start every statement with an apology, you’ll instantly take your credibility down a notch. What’s worse is that this is how many women have been conditioned to behave when presenting their ideas, especially at a work meeting.

If you have a valid suggestion, then go right in and share it. If you need a little confidence boost, do a quick rehearsal of your statement in your head. Just don’t start out your brilliant point with an apology for talking. You’re amazing. Don’t forget that.

2. Say Yes to Others’ Good Ideas

Having something important to add to the conversation doesn’t suddenly negate everyone else’s brilliance. Supporting your team and acknowledging their fine contributions shows that you’re not only a good coworker, but also that you’ve deeply considered the task at hand. On the flip side, who doesn’t like to hear a compliment on their fine work? Nobody, that’s who. Praise the good, and make it even better. Always be improving.

3. Do Your Homework

If you’re always running into meetings late and asking “Now, what was this whole thing about again?,” then you’re going to come off as disengaged. Be prepared for work just like you were for school (or should have been).

Heck, go the extra mile. Come in with additional research, new case studies, possible starting-off points so you can move the project down the line that much faster. Get as much done before the meeting as you possibly can. You’ll be happy you did.

4. Don’t Be a Party Pooper

You know that one person in your team meeting who always disagrees with every idea that gets proposed … seemingly for no reason? That’s called being a jerk, not being smart. If you’re disagreeing just to fill the room with the sound of your voice, not to actually offer anything constructive or informational, then you’re going to get listened to less and less. Angry doesn’t sell the room.

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5. Say You’re Wrong When You’re Wrong

They say it takes a big person to acknowledge their mistakes, so do it when you need to. You can be a leader and a smarty and still be wrong sometimes (really!). And no, you don’t have to go on and on about it. Just own your mistake and move forward.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you show your smarts at work? Share your story in the comments or come talk to us on Twitter.

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