A few weeks ago, at lunch with friends, we got onto the subject of how important a smile is and how you can “hear” a smile in someone’s voice. I recounted the story of how one of my first bosses made us put a sticker on the phone saying “Smile when you dial!” so that we would always sound happy. Their young son told me that his teacher had told him it was better for you to smile because you use more muscles smiling than frowning … so it was better exercise!
As we didn’t know if this was true we went onto Google and did a quick search of the Internet. It appears that you will get a variety of answers to the question “How many muscles does it take to smile?” Answers vary from 10 – 43 but my favourite is by a gentleman called Varun who writes www.JuniorDentist.com. He lists 13 in total but goes on to say that different smiles use different muscles – a grin uses more than a blushing smile for example.
However many muscles it takes, there is no doubt that a smile affects the sound you makes as you speak; it makes you appear more personable and warmer. At least a real smile does, a fake smile does the opposite! A fake smile doesn’t reach your eyes, gives you the look of a snarling animal about to attack and has little effect on your voice.
So what do you do if you don’t feel like smiling? If you are nervous, uncomfortable or just tired and worn out? You have to think of something that makes you happy! It doesn’t matter what it is, no one else need know … but a happy thought you must have or else your smile won’t work. Then you will look like a politician towards the end of a campaign trail or a salesman at the end of the day on an exhibition stand; your smile will be quick to go and others will doubt your sincerity.
If you need any help smiling whether you are presenting or walking into an important meeting, then think of the thing or person that puts a smile on your face as you walk in … you will appear more approachable to everyone in the room.
Try it! It may not be good exercise but it will make you feel better!