Want to know the number one thing that can give you more bang for your buck in your presentations? Whether you are in front of a camera or pitching to an audience of any size (even 1) you put odds much more in your favor for being well-liked and listened to simply by sharing… a smile.
It seems too simple, right? Doesn’t everyone know this? Yet, the number one tip I give when I view folks on camera, “ Smile more! “ Their number one response as they watch the video with me? “ I thought I was!”
Concentrating on the points of a presentation can sometimes take us into our headspace a bit too much, and we forget about the most important communication tool we can use. Maybe this can encourage you to practice raising those corners of your mouth more:
1. A smile helps people warm to you. Science has proven it. A recent fMRI study showed that subjects viewing attractive faces showed increased activity in the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex, but even more so when the person had a smile.
Even the most charismatic characters in fiction are often described by their smile:
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s main character of Jay Gatsby was described as having a smile that “Assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.” Now, if we could master that the next time we meet someone…!
2. Your audience may learn more! The sooner your audience warms to you, the quicker they will trust you and rapport will deepen. In the state of good rapport people are more easily led.
3. Take years off! Okay, so smiling may not be the fountain of youth, but it is widely perceived that those with broad smiles appear younger than those who do not smile as much!
4. Be forgiven. It’s not very often that a presentation goes without any glitch. But it’s much easier to smooth over the bumps with a pleasant smile verses a pout or grimace. Even in “real life” a smile can ease a tough situation. Think of being in a foreign country with a language barrier. People are more open to assist you if you approach with a smile!
5. Raise your happiness level! It’s called Facial Feedback. It works because the brain senses the flexion of certain facial muscles needed to create a smile, and interprets it as, “ I must be happy about something.” A common suggestion for those suffering from short-term depression is, in fact, a type of smile therapy! Just smile more (whether you feel like it at first or not) and your brain chemistry may start to change. A more positive mood awaits!
A smile is free to own, but it may be worth money in the bank! At the very least, you’ll have a happier day!
I’m happier just from writing this article about smiles!