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Those aren't wrinkles; that's a real smile!

Do people believe what you say… or how you say it?

Research says both. In fact, the majority of a presenter’s message is delivered through their body language and voice. If you want to be credible with your audience and give them confidence in your topic, that means your body, voice and content need to be aligned. In other words, what you say needs to match how you say it.

So if you have a positive message or are excited about your topic, you need to show some enthusiasm.

You need to smile.

Seems pretty obvious. But most of the presenters I encounter seem to be wearing a very serious mask (RBF) when in front of the room. They show little emotion. The problem is that by not showing any enthusiasm, they dampen the energy level in the room. Why should the audience be excited if the presenter isn’t?

You need to smile. But not just any smile. An AUTHENTIC smile. Because people can spot a fake smile in a heartbeat. And the key to an authentic smile is… the eyes. They get all crinkly in the corner.

We cover this in greater detail in our workshop but here are a few things you can work on now to practice your smile for your next presentation:

  • Yes, I said practice. Practice is how you turn a good presentation into a great one. That includes smiling.

  • Recognize the need to smile while presenting. Even if it’s a serious subject. Generate some enthusiasm.

  • Find ways to inject humor or positive thoughts into your content or your message. That gives you a push to smile – and for your audience to smile. Warning: Don’t use humor for the sake of humor; it has to provide perspective on your topic or your situation. Otherwise it’s a distraction.

  • Get used to smiling in public instead of defaulting to RBF.

On that last point, here’s my challenge to you: The next time you’re in the airport, turn your experience into a game. Most people there are stressed and scurrying to get to/from their gate. Make eye contact with others as they walk past – try it with a neutral expression for a few minutes and then try it while smiling for a few minutes. See how many people you can get to grin with each method. You’ll be surprised how many grins you get back. And that’s in an airport. Don’t you want that sort of positive response when you’re presenting?

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