When you are smiling, the whole world smiles with you, are words made famous by Louis Armstrong and Dean Martin during last century and indeed they bring sound advice! Do you smile enough in your day? Are there times or periods where you go without smiling? I hope not.
For me, a smile is important. It can be something you can give to someone else. You can also receive a smile and send it back. Watch a room when one person genuinely smiles and means it. People start smiling, then laughing and feeling positive and enjoying themselves. Do you feel sad when you smile genuinely? Not at all. You feel happy, you feel better or at least less sad than you did a moment a go.
In my work as a Trainer, I try to make people smile a lot. I tell jokes, I dance and act about to make people see a point or I act out a scene to bring home the message, but I always try to do so with a smile. To be able to show people, that it's OK. For me, learning cannot take place in an environment full of tension or negativity. Learning a second language as an adult can be a tremendously stressful thing as we bring with us negativity and issues about our intelligence, our abilities and feel a sense of helplessness sometimes. Having been on both sides of that scenario as a student and as a Trainer, reminds me that smiles, a few laughs and some easy going moments can really help.
I once did a German course here in Vienna, where there was less (or no) smiling. The Trainer didn't enjoy his job and we felt like a complete burden to him. Everything was wrong. Just wrong, wrong, wrong. I had to leave the course, as I didn't feel like dragging my self-esteem into the mud where the Trainer was taking it. I needed to find another way. It reminded me for my own training of learners to make others smile. To encourage, delight and to give them confidence. A smiling confidence goes a long way. I find when people smile and are positive, their language skills improve, their brains become free and in time they learn more and in a better way.
I have never met an ugly person when they smile! God gave everyone a beautiful smile. So use it. Give it away to others who need it. Perhaps you are the only person who smiles at the cashier all day. It make their life a little easier. We don't know what effect our smile might bring, but it will make a difference. Be the smiler.
In the book, You Can, by George Matthews Adams, his chapter called 'Smile' suggests "Smiles are the headlights of success. And they always point the way that wins the day." Like a direction in sense. A smile points the way. To where? Success here is not measured by money or status or making a deal or anything else, but by perhaps making a difference in your day and in someone else's.
Smiles are free. How do you use them? I aim to give them out more often, to spread them in places where people least expect them. To be genuinely giving them away. Start with those around you. Family, work colleagues, friends, and those in your local neighbourhood. Before long, you will be smiling at everyone, brightening days and making yourself feel better too. So be selfish, and smile!
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David Corcoran is a Executive Voice Coach. He helps people take responsibility for their communication. This Blog contains his regular musings, thoughts and ideas. He is based in Vienna, Austria.