Smile, Really Smile, It's Good for Health, It's Good for Wealth
By Jonathan Steele, RN
A real Smile is one of the most effective means to capture the trust, attention, and rapport of an audience. It is an essential part selling when meeting people. It has added benefits as a stress reducer. This is true if speaking to an audience of one or one thousand.
You can reap these benefits if you know what a real smile is and learn how to create one.
In basic training, a salesman is taught to master smiling and have it end just as eye contact is made with the clientele. The reason is that it makes you look like a decent person. Additionally it puts the person being greeted at ease.
Lets Get Real
Actually there are a total of 47 different individual facial expressions. The most commonly seen are smiling and winking. There is such a thing as a real smile.
Among the expressions, a less known but often observed are such expressions as the eyebrow wink.
As to smiling, it is even felt that babies have the ability to make this facial expression. This is based on 3-D scans of babies in the womb. It is interesting that most babies don’t have this ability after delivery until they are about 6 weeks old. Maybe it says something about how much pressure life puts on the new entrants into the human race.
So, what is a real smile?
Smiling is a facial expression created by the contraction of muscles near the ends of the mouth and can include or extend into the muscles near the eyes.
Most often it is an expression of delight, pleasure, happiness or love. For some it is an involuntary expression of anxiety as laughter can be some times. Smiling can be found in all cultures and can even be seen in children born blind from birth. It is a human attribute.
Smiling as a Stress Reducer
Here is the good news. Not only can it put others at ease, it can also do the same for you. By smiling our brains produce endorphins which are like drugs inside our body that help with physical and emotional pain and stress. They can even help produce a feeling of well-being and composure.
But, this only works if you have a real smile.
Real vs. Fake
So what is a real smile?
As stated at the outset, it requires the use of the muscles starting at the ends of the mouth and that extend to the eyes. The so called real smile actually has a name. It is called the “Duchenne Smile.” It is named after the French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne. If you’re a Doctor or Nurse you know his name from a Muscular Dystrophy he also discovered.
This is not a new science. His studies started in this field in the 1840’s.
It is a production of the autonomic nervous system. In other words, it is something that just happens involuntarily. So it is said the smile is real if it reaches the eyes.
A fake or voluntary smile used to show politeness or to feign smiling involves just the muscles of the mouth and not those extending to the eyes.
It is also known in literature as the “Pan American Smile" and the "Professional Smile"
How to really smile
How can someone learn to produce a real smile at will?
Since it is an involuntary response, it is impossible to recreate it. However, it is possible to create a memory that will result in the feeling that will result in a real smile.
What was the happiest time in your life? What was one of the most pleasurable moments you ever experienced? If you’re thinking of that special moment at this time, you're smiling a real smile. Why? That memory of that pleasurable moment is bringing it on.
Remember that feeling
Now to perfect this technique, practice doing it. Walk into the break room or a group of people you associate with and just moments prior to your meeting, create a flash of that pleasurable moment in your memory. Watch as they read your body language and comment or query you.
The memories can be replayed from this morning or 30 or more years ago.
Learn to recall these memories and you will learn the art of really smiling.
Learn to master the skill and you will find other things that will bring it on.
This is really quite a wonderful thing when you think of it. You will start your presentation with a pleasurable thought. You will end up with a smile that will put your audience at ease. You will release endorphins that help emotional stress which will help with performance.
It will benefit your health, your wealth, and because of its viral effect, even those around you.
So don’t forget to smile.