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How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Naturally Well-Spoken and Thoughtful

“It’s not a lie if you believe it” — George Costanza

A strong command of speech and language reflects how actively you're absorbed in thought and the efficiency with which you convey yourself. It's a valid goal, but not everyone has the time to wait for said qualities to develop naturally. There are, however, shortcuts to leave a good impression while you continue to grow on the side.

Authenticity is irrelevant so long as you’re satisfied with who you allow yourself to be. Put simply, pretending persuasively is the same as being your target personality. The trick is to speak it into existence while also embodying it — convince others before you convince yourself.

There's a science to casually slipping that word, phrase or expression (WPE) you’ve been itching to use into a conversation without coming off as a pretentious try-hard. Once you finesse that, you can impress any crush or job interviewer. I have an obligation to disclose that I am currently single and unemployed, but follow my lead anyway.

1) Do not save the best for last

Shift the headliner to an afternoon spot where people least expect it.

Never end a dialogue with the WPE you're dying to use or else it'll echo over the ensuing silence and attract unnecessary attention. A sentence that leads up to an impressive use of language sounds like you were looking for an excuse to use it ... as though that's what motivated the sentence in the first place (which might be true, but no one needs to know that). It needs to sound improvised, like you decided last minute to express yourself a certain way.

You either place it right in the middle of your sentence or, if you can't avoid that, start another one immediately after. Do what you can to prevent it from becoming the main focus. (For this reason, you should also avoid words over three syllables while you're still on the come-up.)

Don't: "The weather by the coast is always capricious."

Do: "Reallycapriciousweatherbythecoast, you can never be sure."

Don't: "Everything about the plot is insipid."

Do: "Everything about the plot is insipid. Anyway, about what we discussed earlier ..."

Leave no room for that annoying friend who thinks he’s smarter than you, always with the “whoaaaahhh, big word” or “someone’s been reading.” If you continue talking even after landing the punch, it won't seem like a big deal (to you).

Aim to make the target WPE's delivery sound indistinguishable from the rest of the words you speak — it's just another fleeting thought in your busy mind.

2) It only glows the first time

Do not repeat standout WPEs — definitely not in the same conversation. If you have to say the same thing more than once, demonstrate your flexibility by framing it differently, even if it's not as striking as the first time.

Avoiding this will not suffice if you're committed to your character — just don’t do it. People notice when you repeat something that stood out to them the first time, which is why its charm immediately diminishes once they realize you're as proud of it as they were impressed.


First time: "Take everything I say with a pinch of bath salts." [Everyone laughs]

Second time: "See, the thing about my comedy is you gotta take it with a pinch of bath salts." [That one supportive friend snickers to drown out the crickets]


First time: "Take everything I say with a pinch of bath salts." [Everyone laughs]

Second time: "Just don't take me too seriously, we're all here to have a good time." [Everyone applauds]

Keep tabs in a little notepad and set aside one page (or more) for each person you're trying to arouse or intimidate, and make a note of every big WPE you’ve used in front of them. You may do the same for jokes and cool stories. I highly recommend this, especially if you're a compulsive liar.

Once you've succeeded in making it look natural, focus on bringing down the enthusiasm.

We want to come across as blasé, not excited.

3) Look unimpressed with your own brilliance

Your eyes mustn't light up when you successfully deliver your WPE of choice; in fact, try to look bored and indifferent. It is, however, important to find the right balance, so no need to overdo it by yawning either.



How you enhance your vocabulary is up to you. It doesn't really matter if you read a lot or have "word of the day" set up as your screensaver so long as you broaden the scope of your language.

Shortcuts are great if you can make it look like you took the long route — the result will still be the same.

The way to do this is with an "eh, whatever" attitude.

4) Introspective pauses and calculated stutters to emphasize spontaneity

If rehearsed lines sound recited, all your effort goes down the drain.

When you have an insightful sentence or speech prepared, keep pausing to make it seem like you’re thinking of it on the spot. Pauses are of paramount importance, but feel free to pepper in a few stutters as well to exhibit how you think on your feet ... maybe even the occasional "umm" and "uhh."

Go a step further and get yourself some props, because fidgeting while remaining focused makes you look nonchalant. Take off your glasses mid-sentence, fold them casually and swirl them around like a wand as you proceed speaking.

Don't own a pair of glasses? Buy one. (People rarely admit this, but cigarettes and glasses change the way others look at you.)

Go out of your way to extinguish suspicions about your chosen WPE being premeditated.

Anyone can perform a song they've practiced over and over again, but to witness them play something by ear is far more spectacular — aspire to the latter.

5) Bail once it becomes commonplace

Being a hipster only works if you remain in the closet i.e. don't let others know you're steering clear of what's popular. This sounds easy, but you'd be surprised at the incongruence between the words that leave your mouth and the larger vision you have for yourself.

Certain WPEs sound cool and intelligent and original and new until they don't. If you hear too many people use a WPE you initially took pride in, abandon it.

Looking up synonyms for basic words is great, but when you start hearing "plethora" too much, tone it down and find a mid-range replacement that you can keep using as much as you want — "abundance" or "excess" will do; there's no need to go back to "a lot."

Then, move on (in silence) and start plotting the debut of your next big WPE.


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