2 2 MENSHE ALTH.COM.SG // MARCH 19 How did a celebrity billionaire with no previous political experience persuade a nation to elect him leader? Or the makers of fidget spinners convince the public that a toy could combat ADHD? Or countless Instagram influencers become profitable “lifestyle authorities”? The simplest answer: They all know how to bluff. It’s a skill that, seemingly, many of us would like. According to a recent report, 89 percent of employers have caught candidates editing the truth on their job applications, up from 74 percent five years ago, while more than two-thirds of adults admit to bending the TE X T TOM WARD TheArt of theBluff IN A TIME DEFINED BY FAKE NEWS AND SELF-STYLED EXPERTS, SUCCESS IS NO LONGER ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW—IT’S ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK YOU KNOW. NOW, WE’RE NO FANS OF FALSEHOOD, BUT WE DO RECOGNIZE THAT A LITTLE PERSUASIVE SKILL CAN TAKE YOU FAR. SO THIS IS OUR GUIDE TO BLUFFING, BS-ING, AND WINGING YOUR WAY TO THE OUTCOME YOU WANT. G U Y W I S D O M Engage on your terms Within the first five minutes, suggest a date for a follow-up meeting to finalize any decisions. This reframes today’s talk as more “exploratory” and reduces the odds that you’ll have to make any real commitments. Initiate interrogation Finally, always invite an irrelevant staff member so you can ask questions on their behalf. (“Could you run through Project X, just so Mike’s clued in?”) You’ll soon be fully briefed, without giving the game away. P A R T 2 DRESS LIKE YOU MEAN IT THE INSIDER: TED STAFFORD IS MEN’S HEALTH’S FASHION DIRECTOR. Alter your suit A proper fit denotes good quality. The bottom of your suit jacket should be even with your knuckles (cup your hands to check); your pants should kiss the top of your shoe tongues for a clean break; your shirtsleeves should end just above the wrist, with suit sleeves half an inch higher. A trimmer, slimmer fit works on men of every size. facts on social media and dating sites. In short, a lot of us are making stuff up a lot of the time—and if you’re not, the guy sitting next to you probably is. But there is an upside to this torrent of nonsense: It means that self-assurance and quick thinking carry more cachet than ever before. So if you’re going to play their game, make sure you’re doing it better than anyone. To that end, we consulted a team of (legitimate) experts to help you present your best self in any situation. P A R T 1 SURVIVE A CONFERENCE-ROOM AMBUSH Caught unprepared for your next “ideas meeting”? You needn’t resort to surreptitiously Googling under the table. Take control of the proceedings and you can fake your way through them. THE INSIDER: OLLIE OLLERTON IS A FORMER SPECIAL FORCES SOLDIER AND THE FOUNDER OF BREAK- POINT, A UK-BASED MIND-BODY PEAKPERFORMANCE TRAINING ORGANIZATION. Dominate the field It’s vital that you open the meeting, not them: This is your chance to set the agenda. As an icebreaker, bring up a recent controversial news story. While debate ensues, it’ll buy you more time to think.