Jeff Greenhouse

Experienced Marketing & Analytics Executive

How do you use your smile?

How do you use your smile?

A smile. It’s one of the most basic expressions of emotion, but also surprisingly complex. It’s also a powerful tool for you to impact the world around you, if you know how to use it.

I just got back from a tasty three days at the Summer Fancy Food Show. I could talk about the food, but I’d rather talk about the thousands of people I passed by, both in the aisles and behind the booths. I saw smiles all around, but each one was different and had a different impact.

Here are 5 of the types that were on display at the show:

The Beacon - This is the “always on” smile that beams across the room. It can be a bit goofy, but more often just shows genuine joy. It makes someone approachable. It says “Come on over! I’m having a great time and if you talk to me, you will too.”

The Sigh - This is the little smile that just hangs there on your face, not really directed at anything or anyone. This is the one that says “I’m here, I guess I’ll make the best of it”.

The Spark - This is the strong, genuine smile that you shoot to someone when you make eye contact. It’s obvious that it’s just for them. It’s both a connection and an invitation to interact.

The Secret - This is the quick, knowing smile that comes with a sideways glance. It suggests a shared understanding. It says “Yeah, we both saw that.”

The Faux - We’ve all seen this one at some point. Sure, the mouth is making the smile shape, and the teeth may be showing, but the eyes give away the fact that it’s just for show and there’s no real joy or authenticity behind it. This is the smile that drives people away.

What about your smile? Are you generous with it, or stingy? Do you use it to your advantage? Better yet, now that you’ve read this, will you use it to your advantage tomorrow?

I know I will. :-)

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