When I was younger and more naïve, I always used to be in awe of people who just had an aura of… how shall we say… “bossitude.” They were confident and persuasive. You wanted to follow their advice, take their offer and more generally just do things that would make them like you.
There’s only one problem — 75 percent of the time those people are full of crap. I know a lot of them (I go to business school, where this is the only form of art officially taught in the curriculum), and there’s usually not a whole lot of substance backing up that je ne sais quoi. So how can you convince friends, employers and others that you have this quality even if you’re as introverted as they come? Here are three quick hacks I’ve learned to making people think you’re a boss when you’re really not that cool.
1) Register your own domain name and set up a personalized email.
Ever see people that have emails like “firstname.lastname@example.org”? Don’t lie, the first time you saw that you thought they were a boss. On the contrary! They just know how to use Google Apps (though I’m sure there are other methods). First, you need to find an available domain name that is close to your name (mine is alexdschiff.com). Go here to do it through Google and then create the email you want in their admin panel. If you’re having trouble following their prompts, just Google around how to do it and you’ll find some tutorials.
You’d be shocked at how many people don’t know how drop-dead simple this is and automatically think you’re God of the interwebs. Disclaimer: don’t think this will impress anyone who works in tech. They’ll just laugh at you.
2) Print business cards.
This is particularly applicable to people in school (most older people have them already). Outside of business school, most people don’t think to create cards for themselves because they haven’t had to do much networking. But it goes a long way in establishing your credibility, no matter shoddy they are. Besides, how much more likely is someone going to remember you if they have something to take with them that has your name on it?
At Vistaprint, you can get 250 free business cards with a number of different designs. If you want to plop down a little extra cash, you can design your own or get better ones, but honestly I use the free for Fetchnotes and I haven’t felt hindered in the slightest. You can get started creating them here.
If you want to go the extra mile, create really thick, glossy business cards that come in individual wrappers. They’re probably a fortune, but after I received one on Sunday I definitely thought the guy was a boss. He was the topic of conversation at our table for 30 minutes after he left.
If you don’t know what to put on your business card, make up a company and call yourself CEO. If anyone asks what your company does, just say “we’re in stealth mode as we build the product.” It seems to work in Silicon Valley.
3) Always “know a guy”
One of the ways people assess bossitude is by how many (and what type of) people you know. If someone mentions a field and you know someone who works in it, be quick to mention it nonchalantly — “Physics? Oh yeah, my buddy John works in that.” John might be the janitor of the University of Michigan physics lab, but I’m sure he picks up some knowledge about how the universe works accidentally from time to time. Even better, if you can actually start connecting people and making introductions, you’ll really start to impress people without actually deserving it.
Now, go forth and use your newfound bossitude to create opportunities for yourself so you can become a real important person rather than a pretend one.
(Disclaimer: This was generally meant to be satirical and funny, so don’t expect a million dollar per year job out of it. But in a crushing blow to the integrity of our society, it works for the majority of the people you’ll meet.)