Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

Leadership Development, Process Improvement

The Power of a Smile

by Bill Schoenberg

August 27, 2013
Is there anything that warms the heart more than a smiling baby? 
Sure, I am biased.  I have an 11 month old son who knows a thing or two about the power of a smile.  He knows that when he smiles at strangers, they are more likely to pause whatever they are doing and look at him.  He has also figured out that if he smiles, he is likely to get his favorite after dinner snack, a banana.  My son is not the only one who knows a thing or two about smiling.  Dale Carnegie thought the topic of smiling was so important he devoted an entire chapter to it in his book  "How To Win Friends and Influence" people. 
In the years since "How to Win Friends…" was published, scientists have been trying to figure out exactly what happens when we smile.  Curious as to what they discovered?  Well, the results are fascinating!  In one famous study, researchers looked though high school yearbooks and identified the women who had the best smiles.  For 30 years they tracked the lives of these women.  Turns out the women who smiled the most lived happier lives, happier marriages and had fewer setbacks. LeeAnne Harker and Dacher Keltner wrote about this in the Expressions of Positive Emotions.  Other studies have found that smiling slows down the heart rate, reduces stress and can make you feel happier.  With these benefits, it is not surprising to find out that people that smile more often, also live longer!
How can we use a smile in our everyday:
  • Build Rapport - This allows us to connect with others and we can even control a conversation with a quick smile. Bring everyone to ease.
  • Break Down Barriers - A smile can eliminate preconceived ideas and remove the doubt in someone's mind about our response. Just imagine, when we smile people engage.
  • Inspire and Give Hope - With a smile we can motivate others and show our appreciation. This inspires others and puts them in our corner.
Still not "buying" this idea of smiling?  Well, the benefits are not just health related.  There have been numerous studies that show that people are more likely to buy from sales people that are smiling.  One interesting study took this idea even further.  Researches from Central Washington University wanted to know if the genuineness of the smile had an influence on a consumer’s buying behavior.   What did they find?  When the smile was more genuine, called a Duchenne smile, consumers where more willing to buy, and pay.
"Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, 'I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you." - Dale Carnegie

Download Dale Carnegie's Secrets of Success, these principles are the foundation to "How to Win Friends and Influence People". These are the same key principles we use in our training and use daily to build relationships!

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