No one wants to sound dumb. However, texting and emojis have taken over the world -- so it becomes difficult to remember how to use the English language to its fullest extent. I find this happening in the business world. I've been getting a lot of emails from professionals that look anything but professional. I also found that it's easy to let common phrases work their way into our daily conversation, ones which make us sound less professional than we would prefer.
To boost our brainpower reputation among those around us, here are some more intelligent-sounding phrases to use in conversation or in written communication:
We've received many accolades. Everyone knows what a compliment is but the term, "accolade," is not heard that often anymore. It was often associated with receiving knighthood but is now linked with an award or praise. With this regal connection, accolade just sounds as though the honor received was higher than any other.
It was more of a blunder than a failure. Not only does blunder sound as though it's a more intelligent word, but it also tends to downplay the extent of what might have happened. A blunder is essentially a mistake, but it does not have the weight that a "failure" or a "mistake" carries. Also, failure is so commonly used for all types of situations, including those where there has not been a true failure. Instead, blunder is a polite and academic way of saying "oops" that just sounds more grown up. A neat grammar fact is that blunder works as a noun and a verb, but failure does not, making it the more intelligent, clever choice.
This problem is baffling. Like blunder, baffling just sounds smarter than some of the other words used today to express confusion, such as WTH, WTF, and huh. None of those sound as smart as baffling or making the concept and emotions that are involved seem so civilized and acceptable. If a problem is baffling, it gives off the idea that it could be potentially more than just challenging in nature, deepening the seriousness of the issue.
That's quite jocular. Everyone knows what "LOL" means and saying something is "funny" is pretty basic, but when you retort, "That's quite jocular," you will most likely get a pause. In that pause, you can be pretty confident that "jocular" is being typed into Google because this way of letting someone know that you find them humorous is pretty "highbrow."
We are becoming demiurgic in our product development. Everyone knows "innovative product development." Yawn. Now, if you tell them that your company is becoming demiurgic, some eyebrows might be raised in curiosity. What you are saying in a very sophisticated way is that your organization has a powerful creative force. This might even be a great addition to your company's mission statement, raising the bar on what is expected from your talent. Find what works for you.
An entrepreneur has to be assiduous to succeed. While the first reaction to this phrase might lead to a somewhat negative meaning to the word, the real meaning of assiduous is anything but that. We've all heard words like "committed" and "hard working" used to describe what an entrepreneur does but if you say that they must be assiduous, it elevates the feeling of how they approach what they do. Being assiduous means being unremitting, working tirelessly and diligently, and persevering at all costs. This intelligent way of describing an entrepreneur essentially captures the passion and drive that goes into creating and growing a startup. It also helps weed out the fakepreneurs that are out there.
Everyone needs their own impetus to do more. Another overused word is "motivation" to the point where it simply doesn't do its job anymore. However, adding to the intelligence quotient is to switch it out for "impetus." This word means stimulations resulting in increased activity, a driving force, and impulse -- all connotations that carry a higher level of action and result than motivation. It's just one of those awe-inspiring words that, when used, might even light a fire under those hearing it.
Our goal is to serve as the paragon in our industry. When someone says they want to be the best, it just doesn't mean anything because everyone says that. However, if you were to talk about becoming the paragon of your industry, you can garner some well deserved attention. Paragon means a model or pattern of excellence and is synonymous with other intelligent words like "epitome," "ideal," and "quintessence," all of which can make you and what you are doing with your company sound that much more intelligent.
It's good to have aspirations. We can all say we have goals, but when we talk about our aspirations it raises the bar on the intent and feeling attached to the action. An aspiration comes with a strong desire and sense of ambition that gives it more action than just a "goal." Aspire means to reach upwards so not only does this make you sound more intelligent, but it also seems like you can and will accomplish a lot. I also find that using phrases like this helps me to really connect with others on a much more personal level.
I just read the most amazing book. While all the phrases on this list have focused on using words whose rarity and depth of meaning makes them more intelligent, this last phrase lets others know that you are working on your intelligence and to stay tuned for many more intelligent things said in the near future. Reading feeds your mind, expanding your vocabulary and perspective simultaneously, and builds a better, more understandable you.
The result of adding these phrases and delving into books for more like them is that you will be more interesting and create value. The information and knowledge that you can impart will set you apart from others, driving a greater level of respect, credibility, and authority.