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Article Title:
Put Your Best Face Forward

Article Description:
Blink--a recent book by Malcolm Gladwell--cites research to 
support the concept that a person's face can do more than mirror 
the individual's mood. . .it can create a mood for that 

Additional Article Information:
713 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Fri Mar 24 04:12:44 EST 2006

Written By:     Bill Lampton Ph.D.
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

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Put Your Best Face Forward
Copyright © 2006 Bill Lampton Ph.D.
Championship Communication

Blink--a recent book by Malcolm Gladwell--cites research to 
support the concept that a person's face can do more than mirror 
the individual's mood. . .it can create a mood for that 
individual.  That is, if you start your day with a defeated look, 
before long you will become downhearted, even angry.  This, of 
course, reverses the most commonly accepted thought pattern, that 
the mood comes first, then the facial response.  The moral: Set 
the tone for your day with a happy, confident face, and good 
things are likely to follow.

Well, if our facial expressions impact us that much, how much 
does our countenance impact others? Plenty, as you know. How we 
look to people shapes the impression we convey. Example: When I 
speak or direct a seminar, within a couple of minutes I can 
identify audience members who are highly interested and 
supportive, along with those who appear bored, distracted, 
confused, and sometimes hostile.  You can do the same in 
conversations and in business meetings.  Sure, once in awhile we 
will misinterpret the way someone looks. Yet our guess will be 
accurate most of the time.

Here is a classic case of a man who felt misinterpreted:  Though 
he was highly successful and prominent in his community, what 
struck most people was his very dour-almost sour-expression.  He 
confided to a friend: "You know, people consider me glum and 
unfriendly.  They think I'm a scowler.  I try to assure them I 
don't mean anything by my demeanor, because I'm not aware of a 
sullen expression. Even my mother used to tell me I needed to 
work on the perception I'm creating."

Remember that the face includes the eyes.  Cicero said it well: 
"The eyes are windows to the soul."  Look away from someone while 
you are reporting on a work assignment, and your shifty eyes 
might suggest you are hiding something.  Blink excessively, and 
you could appear insecure. Close your eyes even for a short 
instant, and they will think you are ignoring them, or-even 
worse-drifting off to sleep.

More positively, maintain steady eye contact to reflect poise and 
credibility.  Notice how many people remove their glasses when 
they want to impress you while they talk.  They want no barrier 
between you and their eyes.

Beware of frowning.  When you are making a sales call, a frown 
indicates to your prospect that you don't feel good about the 
course of the presentation. You create discomfort for both of 
you, and lose the likelihood of making a sale.  When your 
supervisor tells you about a new approach for operating the 
department, your frown could suggest your unwillingness to 
consider the change.

The most pleasing look: One that fits the tone of the meeting or 
conversation, and reinforces your message. Johnny Carson and Bob 
Hope mastered the art of smiling and beaming at the appropriate 
time.  They could milk more laughter out of a joke, even a 
botched joke, than other comedians could because of their 
reinforcing facial expressions.

Similarly, the best photographs taken of athletes in the most 
intense moments of a game showcase their faces, which mirror 
determination, confidence, exertion, exhaustion, disappointment 
and resilience. Golfer Tiger Woods has attracted millions of fans 
by his wide range of grimaces, grins and concentration-just as 
Arnold Palmer did during the 1960s.

>From an opposite viewpoint, we dislike the speaker who smiles or 
smirks when talking about life and death matters.  When you break 
bad news, you need a solemn face that matches the message.

The next time you're in a social setting, pay special attention 
to the people around you. I'll bet the ones you will want to meet 
are the men and women with animated, cheerful expressions. 
Likewise, people will consider you attractive, even think of you 
as a leader, when you smile, nod in agreement and give other 
signs of warmth and openness.

When I coach executives and other professionals, we videotape our 
simulated conversations.  The taping and the critique that follow 
pinpoint what my clients need to improve in their demeanor. Once 
we have discussed problem areas, we videotape follow up 
conversations, to see what improvements we can foster.

So, while you work diligently on the content of an interview, 
sales call, meeting agenda and speech, remember to "put your best 
face forward."

Bill Lampton, Ph.D., helps organizations strengthen their 
communication, customer service, motivation and sales, 
through his speeches, seminars, coaching and consulting. His 
client list includes the Ritz-Carlton Cancun, CenturyTel, the 
University of Georgia Athletic Association, the Missouri Bar 
and Celebrity Cruises.  He wrote the book The Complete 
Communicator: Change Your Communication, Change Your Life! 
Also, he has written articles for The Rotarian, Competitive 
Edge and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Visit his Web site 
and sign up for his complimentary monthly e-mail newsletter:  To schedule him 
for your events, call 770-534-3425 or 800-39300114.  



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