Influence · Likeability · Trust

Do you have a Duchenne smile?

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.

Brings a new twist to the generally anxiety-provoking aging process. To me, crows feet will show that I’ve lived a happy life full of genuine joy and big smiles, what else could you ask for?!


  “I just like to smile! Smiling’s my favorite– Buddy in Elf                




2 thoughts on “Do you have a Duchenne smile?

  1. Thanks for writing this, Krystal. Buddy the Elf is a CLASSIC example of what we could all hope to be. The hardened professional is all but dead and we need to be genuine, effective and, perhaps, happy to get things done.

    Not sure if it was intended or not, but your smile next to all the others isn’t out of place. Not enough people smile in their profile pictures…

  2. Thanks for the kind note! You’re absolutely right, the shift is made from self to others where the focus is no longer solely on how you can achieve your goals but more importantly how you can help others achieve theirs through knowledge sharing, contacts sharing, understanding what drives them, collaborating etc. There’s another book called Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends by Tim Sanders that I’m looking to read as well.

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