Have you ever seen someone and right away couldn’t help but notice how fantastic their smile was? Their whole face warmed up as they portrayed a genuine spontaneous emotion, like happiness or joy. You don’t know what it is but you felt that they were honest and trustworthy –> All of that from just one smile!!
Now think of a time when you saw someone smile who had more of a fake smile – it probably looked a bit forced or awkward, cheesy maybe, and you couldn’t see the real emotion that evoked it because it didn’t show up in their eyes – it was more of a ‘polite’ or ‘courtesy’ smile that was only with their mouth.
So why is it that some people’s smile can light up a room and quickly gain a degree of trust while others don’t? After all, a smile is a smile right? Wrong!
It all comes down to having a Duchenne smile – smiling with both your eyes and your month. How do you know it’s a Duchenne smile? Emotionally, it’s real and spontaneous. Physically, if you see crows feet at the corner of the eyes and a little squint in them, that’s a Duchenne smile. In Guy Kawaski’s new book Enchantment (which is about influening people without morale compromise…kind of a modern day How to Win Friends and Influence People ), he shares his insights on the art of changing hearts, minds and actions (particularly in a business context). He states that enchanting others depends largely on your likability and trustworthiness. One of the key pillars, he says, to building likeability and establishing trust is starting with a smile, but not just any smile, a Duchenne smile.
Polite smiles are good too but if you want to portray genuine emotion and really kick up the likeability and trustworthy factor, a Duchenne smile is a must. Take this Spot the Fake Smile test to see if you can tell the difference.
“I just like to smile! Smiling’s my favorite” - Buddy in Elf