When you’re smilin’

Your mom probably told you this– along with “stand up straight,” but smiling is a good thing. Singers know that if their pitch is off or flat, they add a slight smile and the pitch improves.*

If your speaking voice feels flat or dull, generate a genuine smile to positively affect your tone and demeanor. When you smile at your audience, their mirror neurons fire and initiate brain activities that evoke warm feelings. It’s an efficient way of getting an audience to experience empathy or pleasant emotions. Of course, only smile at the appropriate times in your presentation, but make it happen early for the best effect.

Smiling also enhances likeability. Recently, we conducted trainings at Realogy in New Jersey. Participants were so witty and engaged that we laughed constantly. The benefit? We liked one another immediately, and they had an impressive level of achievement. Plus, we all left feeling refreshed and satisfied.

(*) The “Duchenne smile” is where the orbicularis oculi muscle raises the cheeks and forms crow’s feet around the eyes, then contracts the zygomatic muscles around the mouth. This opens the soft palate, brightening and focusing the tone in the mask of the face.

Posted in Blog, Resources | 4 Comments

4 Responses to When you’re smilin’

  1. Jon Light says:

    I have a serious face (there’s a YouTube video for both men and women who suffer from this condition, “A__hole Face” and “B___face.” So I have to make a conscious effort to smile more. It absolutely increases likeability and I even comment on it at some point in my presentations to generate some positive reactions and my likeability quotient. Works wonders in social settings also.

    And my mom must have a done a good job. I’ve been told by at least 20 people, including two jurors, that I stand up straighter than anyone they know.

    • Eloqui says:

      Mom’s are great for advice that we often don’t listen to until well into our adulthood. But I’ve always thought you had a kind face so I’m not sure what people are thinking. It just goes to show you. If we listen to everyone we’d never speak in public.

  2. Eric Barnes says:

    As the comedians of old were wont to say, “Always leave ’em laughing”. That’s what they’ll remember first when they think again of you.

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