What type of talks do you give? Are they about diseases? Are they about laying people off? Are they about problems in people’s lives? If so, then you should not smile during your presentation. Smiling when discussing serious or life-threatening situations is obviously inappropriate.
But most of us do not give those types of talks — yet many people never, ever, crack a smile. But it’s important! You say to me, “Right, Claudyne, I’ll just break into a grin when I get to the third point I’m discussing.” Not exactly. As you look at your talk you will see topics and points that lend themselves to a flicker of a smile and sometimes an actual grin, to show how excited, happy, or pleased you are to share this point.
- You have been presenting some problems with the environment and calling your audience to action. Now you are sharing what has been done to reverse the damage. That’s the time to smile.
- You are giving a project update. Some of it is just statistics on what’s been accomplished. But there is a bit of information about how someone on your team figured out a way around a particularly difficult obstacle. Present the success that’s occurred since this breakthrough with a smile.
- You are describing your goals for the future. They include higher sales margins, store reorganization, and other issues that you illustrate with charts and graphs. Look through those charts and see what numbers are going in the right direction. That’s when to smile.
When you smile, you relax and appear more at ease. And when you are more at ease, your audience is too, and is generally more responsive to you and your content. That leads to more sales, more agreement to your department’s plans, and a higher opinion of your capabilities.
Claudyne Wilder runs a boutique presentation business. Wilder Presentations offers Get to the Message presentation workshops and consulting services to organizations ranging from Fortune 500 pharmaceutical firms to community-based non-profits. Claudyne is the creator of TorchMetrics, an innovative online tool that operates on your device as a customized speaking coach.