The obvious facial expression, everyone talks about it (and now me too), but very few people know how to take advantage of this simple and rather pleasurable concept of showing contentment, joy, friendliness, sympathy, pleasantness etc.
We can distinct really two types of smiles, a truthful one and the whole range of “fake” smiles. The problem with those so called “fake” smiles is that some of them are made to deceive, or to mask up other emotion (like fear, anger, contempt or disgust) but the word fake make a bad PR for the rest of smiles that are just polite, gestures of good will, made with good intentions attached like a thumb pointed up.
As the picture shows a true smile of joy is conveyed with eyes, to be precise – muscles around the eyes. In fake smile those muscles express the “base” emotion felt at this particular moment. Only 10% of population have conscious control over those muscles – we are used to call them a natural actors. The true smile lift our cheeks, and so the lower eyelid closes a bit (like in a very good expressed polite smile) but the magic begins with the upper one. It closes a little bit in move that no one (apart of those 10%) can fake – it is so symmetrical and beautiful, I could watch the true smiles all days long :D. So even if you try and mask a joyful smile it will still be shown by those muscles around your eyes. And please, never mask a true smile – it is the most awesome expression, show it off!
For the fake smiles (at least some of them) – gestures of smile. Take my word on this one and put them into a good, frequent use. It will create half of your halo effect right of the bat. You could be in worst shape, with spots on your shirt or whatever – with smile on your face you appear at least friendly. Everyone can pull so much more off while smiling than while trying to look “deep” or “tough”.
It sounds awfully obviously even while I’m writing it, but let me tell you: a well expressed “gesture of smile” completes every image, especially those images that may be not always associated with smile – like when one tries to appear powerful. Power with smile feels secure and our limbic brains respond to that.
Ok. I hope that you will smile more often from now on – it isn’t very easy, I admit, to always remember about it, but it is worth it. Take care until next time!
– Przemek Kucia
P.S. Underneath you can hear about much more data about smiling in great talk made by Ron Gutman. If you want to know more about facial expressions I highly recommend you taking a look on Paul Ekman works.
And please, tell me how do you like the new header of Charisma Workshop :D? Or maybe you have some thoughts on smiling? I’m all ears.