Have you ever noticed that when a photographer says, “Smile!” that the smiles people make end up looking a little fake in the photo?
Smiling, although natural, can be complicated. That’s probably why we don’t do it more often, even when we’re being photographed.
But there are other reasons people don’t smile. The list is extensive and includes insecurity, lack of self-awareness, discomfort, low self-esteem, fatigue, and unhappiness.
Once in a while, I’ll accidentally catch a glimpse of my resting face when I use the reverse lens on my cell phone to do a selfie. Self-promoters do a lot of selfies.
Sometimes, I don’t like what I see.
My natural or relaxed face is sometimes a bit stern looking and not very warm.
This is true for most people.
It doesn’t take much to warm up that expression, so I’m going to get better at showing my “smiling eyes.”
It turns out that a specific muscle of the face is responsible for that warmer expression. It’s the mouth muscle known as the zygomaticus major. If you work with people, you want to exercise this baby every day.
A welcoming smile easily replaces a look of fatigue or frustration.
It can help you win friends and influence people. A nice, natural smile will make others more receptive to what you have to say. A smile makes you more articulate.
I teach presentation skills. Of course, I know lots of nifty tricks for improving closing ratios and being more influential, but here’s a non-technical piece of advice I give all my clients: Smile more.
A little extra expression animates your face and helps you appear more lifelike.
Speaking of smiling, that corny smiley-face emoticon can warm up an email or text message, too. Anything that allows you to be more human is generally a good thing, right?
The smile technique even works when marketing online. Does your Facebook page and website smile at visitors? There are lots of ways to warm up your site with language and graphics.
A warm smile is an invitation to friendship and to do business. Why not wear one all the time?
Smart leaders and salespeople know that they can make more money with a smile.
In fact, what you do during a presentation is actually more important that what you say.
People in the professional development business take smiling very seriously. That’s why “smile training” is an essential component of a communication skill set.
So smile and enjoy yourself a little more today!
It’s a great habit and as they used to say in the ’60s – “Smile, it doesn’t cost anything!”
Michael Angelo Caruso is president of Edison House, a Michigan-based consulting company. His blog appears regularly on DBusiness.com.