23 / 05 / 2023
Myths About Body Language – The Smile
We often hear people refer to “body language”—the clues to the meaning and intent of communication from others that we get from gesture, facial expression, posture—anything really that is not spoken. The experts call it “nonverbal communication,” but it amounts to the same thing.
Accurate knowledge of body language is essential for success in interpersonal relations, whether in the business world or in personal life. However, much of our understanding is instinctive—and a good deal of it is wrong, according to modern communications research. Here is the first in a series of myths that I am going to pull apart.
People smile when they’re happy
People smile for all sorts of reasons, only one of which is to signal happiness. The smile is described in many ways, from the “felt” or true smile to the fear smile, the contempt smile, the dampened smile, the miserable smile, and a number of others. Daniel McNeill, author of The Face: A Natural History, says, “Smiling is innate and appears in infants almost from birth….The first smiles appear two to twelve hours after birth and seem void of content. Infants simply issue them, and they help parents bond. We respond; they don’t know what they’re doing. The second phase of smiling begins sometime between the fifth week and fourth month. It is the “social smile,” in which the infant smiles while fixing its gaze on a person’s face.”
Whatever their origin or motivation, smiles have a powerful effect on us humans. As McNeill points out, “Though courtroom judges are equally likely to find smilers and nonsmilers guilty, they give smilers lighter penalties, a phenomenon called the ‘smile-leniency effect.’”
So remember………..If in doubt smile