by Mary Cantando, Founder of The Woman’s Advantage, Guest Contributor

Studies show that only 20% of your success in life comes from your actual intelligence. A good part of the remaining 80% comes from others’ perceptions of you. So, why not do all you can to influence that perception?

Here are five (rather simple) things you can do to appear smarter in the eyes of others.

Five Ways to Appear Smarter 

1. Use graphs when you present.

Recent research shows that audiences are inclined to trust you more if your presentation includes graphs. And these don’t have to be complicated graphs…in fact they can be very simple.

2. Modulate your speech.

People judge those who speak with little variety in their voices as being less intelligent, so vary the pitch, volume, and speed at which you speak and people will judge you as more intelligent.

3. Make eye contact.

If you make a real effort to look others in the eye when you speak, you will come across as more intelligent.

4. Use your middle initial.

It may seem crazy, but those who use their middle initial are perceived to be more intelligent than those who do not. Guess, I need to switch to “Mary M. Cantando.”

5. Consider wearing glasses.

Recent studies indicate that those who wear glasses are considered more intelligent. This especially applies to those who have switched to the current style of bold frames.