Yesterday evening, our bank invited us to a presentation by one of their insurance consultants — and that caused me to run into something I have never experienced before in more than a decade of presenting and teaching people how to present! What I encountered was a thin smile — the presenter had this thin smile plastered on his face right from the start to the end of his presentation — and that lasted for a good hour and half. Fortunately, I had my iPad with me — so I used it to good advantage to pencil all my thoughts immediately!
Before we get to these thoughts, what exactly is a thin smile? Fortunately I found a picture on Office.com that shows exactly what I encountered!
We all do realize that the opposite of a smiling speaker is a grumpy one — and that’s not a great alternative. Yet, how many of you can tolerate a speaker who has a thin smile all through his presentation. So what is the balance between smiling too much, and being just happy? Here are some thoughts to share — you can use these as guidelines to help you not cause a death-by-smiling experience.
Now by extolling the virtues of not smiling, I do not mean that you should not smile at all. You should certainly smile when appropriate, especially when you are directly speaking with a single member of the audience. And a “thin smile” is something entirely different from a regular smile — the former seems plastic and uninvolved while the latter also results beyond smiling lips to smiling eyes. And a smile that stops after a few seconds is always good. Soon thereafter, you can get back to talking in your most business-like, neutral tone so that you can continue to hold the attention of your audience.
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