When you’re smilin’

Your mom probably told you this– along with “stand up straight,” but smiling is a good thing. Singers know that if their pitch is off or flat, they add a slight smile and the pitch improves.

If your speaking voice feels flat or dull, generate a genuine smile to positively affect your tone and demeanor. When you smile at your audience, their mirror neurons fire and initiate brain activities that evoke warm feelings. It’s an efficient way of getting an audience to experience empathy or pleasant emotions. Of course, only smile at the appropriate times in your presentation, but make it happen early for the best effect.

Smiling also enhances likeability. Recently, we conducted trainings at Realogy in New Jersey. Participants were so witty and engaged that we laughed constantly. The benefit? We liked one another immediately, and they had an impressive level of achievement. Plus, we all left feeling refreshed and satisfied.

 

No One Else’s Word

Leonardo da Vinci's passion was to know how the world works, down to the muscles beneath human lips that allow us to smile. (visualize theMona Lisa) Without formal education, da Vinci relied on experiments and experience. For example, when studying the dynamics of flow, he...

Orange Jacket

Beethoven and Mozart employed themes, or repeatable musical phrases in many of their compositions. The same technique can benefit speakers. Themes represent the whole idea of a talk, and orient an audience. Although usually suggested in the opening, a great theme can be employed anywhere...

The Con Redux

After watching The Inventor documentary, we decided to delve deeper into Elizabeth Holmes' masterful con. First, there was her odd contralto voice, seemingly modeled on Yoda. (Note: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also lowered her voice and hired a speech coach to be perceived as powerful.) Then, Holmes...

The Con

Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos dreamed of inventing something extraordinary. Her goal was to diagnose a hundred diseases from a single drop of blood. George Schultz and other powerful men sat on her Board. Fortune and Forbes magazines showered her with accolades. And she raised over $700 million...

Distraction Theory

Last week we had a visit from our nephew Cody and his wife Carly. Their two daughters Harper (aged 8) and Vivian (aged 3) are boisterous, thrilling and exhausting. When we wanted to catch up with their parents, Deborah dusted off her expertise in hosting...

May I Introduce…

When making an introduction, Emily Post recommended you first look at the person you are introducing-- and then turn to the audience. Speak clearly. Use courteous language as in, "I'd like to introduce...

You were saying?

A recent Wall Street Journal article: No one listening? Maybe you're the problemcited a common communication failure. If you've ever said "I can't make myself heard in meetings or conversations" the WSJ article suggests self-examination. Do you ramble on, without purpose and unaware of your listener's...

Funny Bunny

Melissa McCarthy presented the Oscar for Best Costume Design at the recent Academy Awards. McCarthy wore an over-the-top, Alice in Wonderland costume jam-packed with stuffed rabbits. And as Bryan Tyree Henry's costume proved, bold patterns will attract the eye and capture the spotlight. McCarthy's bit...

No Fingerprint

While visiting a Canadian wellness hotel, we passed Bob Won as we entered the Serenity room. It's a quiet space where you can look out over the rolling mountains, and on this morning, watch the snow drift silently down.But in this stillness, Bob Won is...

Fog of Inattention

August, 2017. The USS John McCain collides with a tanker near Singapore, resulting in the tragic loss of 10 lives and $223 million. The crew members in charge didn’t notice the other ship in time, and take appropriate action. They weren’t paying attention.  As the world...