18 Feb 2017 15:34 IST

Learn to smile!

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The reason a person should smile more often is because of the non-verbal cues it transmits

Most of us look in the mirror several times a day. We focus on our hair, clothes, and other such outwardly appearances, and correct them if required. And while people give their face a once over, rarely do they focus on their expressions.

If one were to start checking their facial expressions frequently everyday, it would become quite evident that people rarely smile.

Yes, it is a fact that most people smile rarely and this becomes rarer still when a person starts to work and is caught up in the day-to-day pressures of a job.

The question now arises — why should a person smile frequently? Is it important? If yes, why?

Debunking a myth

Let me first straighten an urban myth. You would have heard a saying, that it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown, and hence, smiling is easier. There is actually very little scientific evidence to support this statement, although if you keep smiling because of it, there is nothing wrong with it.

The real reason a person should smile more often and even cultivate it as a habit, is because of the non-verbal cues it transmits. A smile sends out a message of being friendly, open and approachable. This is important in any work place, as teamwork is critical. For teamwork to succeed, members should feel comfortable with each other — only then will true collaboration happen.

Non-verbal cues

Take the example of various group projects you would have done during your management course. In all probability, you would have looked to form groups with your friends, where the comfort level is already high.

However, if a disparate group is formed, a significant amount of time is lost in trying to establish this comfort level, and that affects the productivity.

Last, smiling is the aspect of establishing easy rapport with strangers or people you have recently met. This is going to be the case when you join in your first job and the faster you establish this rapport, the better it is for you.

Cultivating a habit

Now that I have explained why smiling always is a good thing, it is also important to stress that this is a habit that needs to be consciously cultivated. Otherwise, it would not happen.

A simple way of developing this habit is by practicing smiling in front of a mirror. This would help you overcome initial inhibitions about your appearance. Once you’ve become comfortable, consciously start practicing smiling for longer periods. If done consistently, you will soon develop the habit.

To check if you are always smiling, gauge the response you get. Once you have cultivated this habit, your smile would become natural and trigger a spontaneous smile from anyone around you. If you start seeing more people smiling at you, it means you have successfully developed the habit.

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