winning smiles by userlpf



winning smiles                                               Why a smile is an essential
                                                   element in every presenter’s toolbox
                                                              by Michael Doctoroff

I     first became aware of the impor-    asked if I had a reason for not smiling, I
tance of smiling several years ago. I     admitted to being self-conscious about
was taking a Dale Carnegie course in      my crooked teeth.
"dynamic presentation techniques."             Before my next presentation this
Over the course of those two very mem- clever coach told the whole class to
orable days, our coaches programmed       laugh at what I was saying no matter
each attendee to give seven presenta-     what I said. So, when I spoke, they
tions, which were recorded and then       laughed. When they laughed, I smiled. I
privately reviewed with the coaches.      found I was actually enjoying myself.
      The learning was both intense and        Surely, the coach was not really
personally embarrassing. Oh boy! If       concerned with my smiling per se -
you've ever seen a recording of one of    most audiences do not consciously eval-
your own presentations, you know what uate trainers on whether or not they
I mean. Nothing is like you imagine,      smile. Rather, the critical piece was the      however, says more than the
from the sound of your voice, to your     role that laughter and smiling played in       words, because it adds warmth and
personal posture, to your inflections, to turning my funny but dry presentation          nuance to your words.
the very fit of your clothes.             into one that was accessible, engaging
      For one of my last recorded ses-    and effective.
sions, I was challenged to make a pres-
                                                                                     The Smiling Trainer
entation in which I had to elucidate on
an analogy of my choosing. I elected to Every Trainer a Smiler?                      For the trainer, the effects of a single
compare the trials and tribulations of                                               smile are multiplied. One smile is
                                          This experience has caused me to add
my early career to the red apple I found "a smile" to the list of required tools for returned by a host of smiles.
sitting on an adjacent table.                                                        Furthermore, when the smile is added to
                                          every trainer. If you're not yet sold on   the message of the trainer, it communi-
      I suggested that my feelings about  its importance, take a moment to think
unemployment were probably akin to                                                   cates excitement about the topic and
                                          about the people and presenters you        makes the message more interesting.
the way the apple felt when no one        have liked best and those who made the
picked it up; I compared its tight red                                                    Smiling helps to increase the reten-
                                          greatest impact on you. I'd be willing     tion of your message. Accelerated
skin to my own younger, tauter skin;      to bet that the majority of them are
then I correlated my aging and graying                                               learning experts tell us of the impor-
                                          smilers.                                   tance of creating a relaxed, stress-free
to the apple's fermenting into apple           Don't be shy to admit that people's
cider and apple Jack - flattering myself                                             environment. A smile is an easy and
                                          pearly whites draw you in, too. Plenty     low-cost way to make your group com-
that we both aged well. Thankfully, my    of data suggests that we are not alone:
colleagues found the presentation to be                                              fortable, relaxed, and open to learning.
hilarious.                                                                                The challenge for those unaccus-
                                            · Smiling is contagious. 95% of the      tomed to smiling is training themselves
      Then came the moment of real            time, if you smile at someone,
learning. Professional criticism. When                                               to flex those facial muscles and make it
                                              they'll smile back at you. You can
the coach took me to the back room, happen. And don't be discouraged by
                                              easily verify this by smiling at
showed me the recording and asked me                                                 thoughts of bad teeth, sunken jaw,
                                              associates or even at strangers you    smirks, etc. The most important thing is
what I thought of the presenter (me), I       pass on the street
could freely say: great subject, good                                                the twinkle in your eyes. Rest assured,
inflection, good gestures, good posture,                                             if you're talking to a group, they're suit-
                                            · Smiling is a means of non-verbal       ably distant to miss your imperfections
eye contact, etc. But then she asked          communication, like saying "hello"
what was wrong. I said, "I don't believe                                             and focus on the positive effects of your
                                              or "have a great day." A smile,        smile.
it, that guy never smiles." When she
Becoming a Smiler
Unfortunately, training yourself to smile
is not as easy as it seems. No matter
                                            a   smile creates happiness in training,
how great your passion for your topic,
if you're unaccustomed to smiling about
                                                promotes good will in business,
it, you will most likely fall back on old
ways and forget. Here are some tips to
                                                  and is the cornerstone of
help you out.
Exercise your face muscles                                                                                     ~Author unknown
Smiling requires facial muscles that        and the two of us share a happy, friend-
need to be strengthened, just like any      ly moment.                                  day money back guarantee. With this
other muscle in your body. Spend a few           Although you may sometimes for-        system, a relaxing introduction leads the
minutes each day working those mus-         get to smile, the positive sensation you    listener to a detached trance state. In
cles by making a variety of faces. It's     experience when you remember will           this state, the listener begins to rehearse
probably best to schedule a certain time    likely be habit forming. Then, when         using their smile more and more, even
of the day when you can have complete       you're more in the groove of flexing        before they come out of the trance. I
privacy. But you can try it out now, as     those facial muscles, smiling will also     haven't tried it personally, but I have to
you stare at your computer or paper         be easier when you're in the midst of a     admit I was intrigued by the website.
printout of this article.                   training session or presentation.
                                            Post a smile memento at your                Interspersing smiles into your presenta-
                                            workstation                                 tion is critical to engaging and connect-
                                            You may have your own favorite poem         ing with your audience. Whether smil-
                                            or quote that brings a smile to your face   ing comes naturally or is self-taught,
                                            each time you look at it. One of mine is    whether it's built into your muscle
                                            quoted above.                               memory or kept in your back pocket,
                                                A funny or laughing photo of a          every trainer and presenter should keep
                                            child, family member, friend or pet can     a smile in its rightful position at the top
                                            also do the trick. You might even write     of the presentation checklist, along with
                                            yourself a note on the image that says,     gestures, diction, inflection, posture, eye
                                            "SMILE!"                                    contact, clothing, and content.

Look in the mirror                       Meditate                                                       ###
Spend a few minutes each day in front    If you practice meditation, you might
of the mirror, smiling at yourself. You  try those Eastern techniques to improve TRAINERS WAREHOUSE offers hun-
can do this at home or at work. If you   your ability and facility with smiling.   dreds of effective, innovative and fun prod-
are in your office, a simple way to do                                             ucts for trainers, educators, and presenters
this, which will also benefit customers  WiiFIT Face Training                      across all industries. Established in 1994,
and colleagues, is to attach a "smile    For those who live in Japan, learning to Trainers Warehouse remains a family owned
                                         smile might be a fast and easy lesson.    and operated business that develops excu-
mirror" to your computer or phone. A
                                                                                   sive new products and searches the world
"smile mirror" is a wallet-sized mirror  Nintendo just came out with WiiFIT
                                                                                   for the best tools to help trainers achieve
(small enough not to be distracting and  Face Training that is supposed to train   their goals. Traine's Warehouse is based in
big enough to show your mouth), with a your facial muscles so that you can         Natick, Mass. and can be reached at 800-
smiley imprinted on it. The mirror acts  enjoy nicer smiles and livelier expres-   299-3770 or by visiting us at
as a continual reminder to put on a      sions. Unfortunately, this product is not
happy face. Smile mirrors are available  yet sold in the US, but if it were,
at Trainers Warehouse.                   Nintendo advises limiting your training   Michael Doctoroff is the Chairman and
                                         to 15 minutes per day.                    founder of Trainers Warehouse. He contin-
Practice                                                                                ues to inject his warmth, humor and smile
The system that works best for me is        Make it a habit                             into the management and oversight of
                                            An American alternative to face training    Trainers Warehouse operations, manufactur-
practice. Whenever I see someone look-
                                            is the relatively inexpensive "Hypnosis     ing, and product development activities.
ing at me, I smile. I've made a game of                                                 Doctoroff is a graduate of Williams College
seeing whether they smile back. Just as     Download" ($16.95 from hypnosis-
                                                                                        and RIT.
the statistics suggest, they usually do It comes with a 90-

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