Don’t forget to smile…!!!

When it comes to customer service; happy, smiling and positive front-line staff have the potential to draw customers to them, make them spend more money, make them come back to the store for more and recommend you to their family and friends.

Norah Casey in her book entitled ‘Sparks! How to reignite your passion for life – and become the person you always dreamed of being’ has a chapter devoted to Smiling and ‘Fake Smiling’.

She refers to a Dr James D. Laird, Professor at the Department of Psychology, Clark University, Massachusetts, USA who has been on a mission to discover which comes first: happiness or smiling? He has written a book entitled, ‘Feelings: The Perception of the Self’, about the connection between feelings and behaviour. He says that we can trick the body into being happy by fake-smiling, even when we don’t feel happy; we can make ourselves happy, just by smiling and feelings are the consequence, not the cause of behaviour (it should be the other way around). Casey says that Laird’s work and research proves this. Laird has followed in the footsteps of the ‘Father of Psychology’ William James who wrote a book called ‘The Principles of Psychology’. Laird followed on from James who gave him the inspiration to continue his work on happiness and smiling. Conducting a set of experiments, he tested if fake-smiling as opposed to authentic smiling could make the participants feel happy. He attached electrodes to the corners of their mouths, the corners of their jaws and between their eyebrows and pretended that he was measuring electrical activity between the electrodes and got them to relax and contract their facial muscles. He discovered that when he stimulated fake-smiling and asked the participants how they felt, they reported that they felt happy. He went on to conduct hundreds more experiments to prove his theory that feelings are the consequence of behaviour. He demonstrated that people feel emotion after they perform a particular behaviour; standing in a slumped posture yielded feelings of low self-esteem, standing tall and straight yielded feelings of high self-esteem, sitting with a slouched posture yielded feelings of laziness and low interest.

We all know that when we look good we feel more confident. If we can fake a smile to make us happy, frown to induce anger, posture to increase our self-esteem, then how much more can we change the way we feel through our own behaviour?

Don’t forget to smile, even if it is a fake smile to you! To others you are drawing them to you and they are beginning to like you…

Source: Sparks! How to reignite your passion for life – and become the person you always dreamed of being’ by Norah Casey. ISBN-978-0-241-97007-2. Published by the Penguin Group (2014)

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