“Did you know that in social encounters women smile 87 percent of the time versus 67 percent for men, and that women are 26 percent more likely to return smiles from the opposite sex?” These are just a few statistics from The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease (who also wrote Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps). The authors go on to provide even more statistics on the importance of smiling — and not smiling. “The lessons here,” they conclude, “are for women to smile less when dealing with dominant men in business or to mirror the amount of smiling that men do. And if men want to be more persuasive with women, they need to smile more in all contexts.”
Even this bit of information gives you lots of ideas about how to present. First of all, who’s in your audience? Are there more men or women? And what level of authority do these people have? Allan and Barbara Pease discovered that the higher level of authority, the less people smile. Consequently, if you are presenting to executives, you may not want to smile all the time. You won’t be taken as seriously.
And if you are going to smile, it better be real. According to the Peases, “a natural smile produces characteristic wrinkles around the eyes — insincere people smile only with their mouth.” Research shows that you can’t get away with a fake smile. People, at some level, pick up on your insincerity.
What are the implications for passionate speaking? Smile when you truly feel it. Mirror your audience’s “smile quotient” in serious business situations.
Here is one more tidbit. I’m not sure how you can do this, but it’s certainly interesting to consider. The Peases quote neurologist Henri Rubenstein, who “found that one minute of solid laughter provides up to forty-five minutes of subsequent relaxation.” That would surely be one way to put yourself in a good frame of mind before a presentation. Imagine being passionate in a relaxed state!”
Do visit Claudyne’s site at Wilder Presentations to sign up for her blog, her tweets or to download some free presenting tools.
Claudyne’s next Get to the Message Workshop in Boston is September 9 and 10, 2013. It is a very small intimate group with only ten people.