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A few months ago, I went into the bank to deposit some checks. The teller waiting on me could barely muster a hello. She looked tired and bored. I was somewhat fatigued myself, but being in the people business, I thought I would take a chance and say something to lighten things up. With a smile on my face, I said “I bet you have a nice smile.” All of the sudden, the teller’s face lit up with a radiant smile, and with enthusiasm, I told her so. From that moment on, the exchange became quite pleasant. She chatted away as she deposited my checks, and I felt better about this brief encounter. As I walked away, I concluded that both of us benefited. She became more relaxed with our light banter, and I received better customer service.

For the last few weeks, I have been thinking about the power of the simple facial expression of a smile. Whenever I do presentations, I always search for the face that is smiling. It usually gives me a greater sense of confidence, and I begin to smile. When I greet clients, I offer a welcoming smile, and I hope for new clients it will put them at ease. Frequently, I am told it does. When you first meet people who are serious or maintain a poker face, you often do not know how to respond. If they are in a position of power, it can be intimidating, and perhaps, it is their goal to make someone cower or be uncomfortable. Being a smiling person myself, I cannot understand such a position unless someone is competing or trying to survive a threatening situation.

Some people would challenge me and say that having a smile is not always suitable in many situations. Of course, I would concur. Some smiles reveal a streak of disdain and send out a threatening message. Other smiles are contrived and make people uncomfortable. Most mentally sound people recognize one does not smile about sad or traumatic events, and if they do, it speaks for itself. Yes, there are those times when smiling is inappropriate. More often, however, smiling is a positive because it not only contributes to the receiving party feeling affirmed, but the person who is sincerely smiling feels positive themselves.

Whether it be on a personal or professional level, a smile can only help bring more success. It is inviting and evokes a sense of positivity, confidence and warmth. Some might say it is difficult to smile or there is not much to smile about. I would challenge that belief and remind them that life has its sadness, but one must look for the intermittent moments of pleasure and joy. As a hypnotherapist, I sometimes have people visualize a scene which makes them smile. Subsequently, I suggest they magnify the feeling and imagine the smile spreading deep into the center of their being. People can do this exercise non hypnotically also. For those who struggle to smile, I propose they view it as developing a good habit and practice. As foolish as it might sound, one can look in the mirror and rehearse. It might even evoke a good belly laugh, and what would be the harm in that?

So go ahead and smile whether in business or a personal situation! It will not hurt. In fact, by opening up your face with this upward, curving of the corners of your mouth, it could open you to the most unexpected opportunities.