During the years I have been an image consultant, I have identified one thing that always helps a person to improve his or her look, regardless of body type, coloring, or personal style. The thing I’m talking about is a smile, which is always free and always accessible.
That said, it surprises me how many people don’t top off their looks with a smile. When I am crossing 57th Street on my way to work each day, I take in all of the people I pass. And I am often shocked by all of the scowls I see! Instead of open, friendly, positive expressions, the sidewalk is dominated by intense, closed-off faces.
I think that a lot of people have never stopped to think about the role that smiles play in their lives and just how important they are. If that’s the case for you, consider the following:
- When it comes to first impressions, people often notice your facial expression first. Then they move on to what you’re wearing, how well you’re groomed, and whether or not your shoes are polished.
- Greeting someone with a smile can influence the tone of an entire conversation or meeting.
- People who don’t speak your language can still understand a smile. I know from experience that smiling can smooth a lot of interactions when you’re traveling to other countries!
- If you’re on the listening end of a discussion, a smile is a quiet message you can send to the other person to let him or her know that you care or that you understand.
The next time you go out or have a conversation with someone, try not to be a “frowner.” Understand that in order to smile more, you must be comfortable with and confident in yourself. When you’re happy about who you are and the situation you are in, your face will genuinely reflect those feelings and you’ll project positive vibes. You’ll even start to feel better, because authentic smiles cause your body to release endorphins, which boost your mood and produce a sense of well-being.
Whatever you do, don’t hide behind a giant, fake grin! (You know the kind I’m talking about.) Those exaggerated expressions are overbearing and off-putting, and people can usually see right through them. Plus, it’s exhausting not to be authentic.
So tomorrow morning as you’re getting ready for your day, remember the catchy song from the musical Annie: “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.” It’s true!