Smiles are infectious. But the smile cannot be faked or forced. You can try to fake a smile, but people can tell when you don’t mean it. In fact, some studies show that if you give an insincere smile, audiences may perceive you as untrustworthy or hypocritical. Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness says there are essentially two types of smiles: the “Duchenne smile” and the “Pan American.”
A genuine smile
The Duchenne smile is the genuine smile, characterized by movement of the muscles around the mouth and also the eyes. You can tell a real smile by how the skin around the eyes wrinkles up a bit. The Pan American smile is the “fake” smile and involves voluntary movement around the mouth only. This is the polite smile you may see from someone in the service industry who is doing their best but not having a great day. (Note: take this very interesting test on the BBC website. Can you spot the fake smiles?)
"I love smiles. That is a fact. How to develop smiles? There are a variety of smiles. Some smiles are sarcastic. Some smiles are artificial-diplomatic smiles. These smiles do not produce satisfaction, but rather fear or suspicion. But a genuine smile gives us hope, freshness. If we want a genuine smile, then first we must produce the basis for a smile to come." — Dalai Lama
We all can recognize an insincere smile. But a presenter or entertainer who actually looks like she is happy to be there—because she really is—is well on her way to engaging her audience naturally. A genuine smile shows that we are happy to be there. And since people in our audience can feel what we feel, why wouldn’t we want them to feel at ease?
The hidden power of smiling
I really enjoyed this short TED talk below from Ron Gutman on the hidden power of smiling. The content is interesting and it's a pretty good example of using Prezi for a live talk.
"A smile results from a part of ourselves enjoying a gift of nature."
— Philip Toshio Sudo, Guitar Zen
The slide above was featured in my latest Japanese book and video called シンプルプレゼン. The photo is of Miwa Yoshida and Masa Nakamura from the legendary Japanese pop group Dreams Come True. I use them because I have never seen anyone display more infectious and genuine smiles on stage than these two.
Tune in Saturday (May 21) for live coverage of TEDxTokyo, 2011
The third annual TEDxTokyo event will be held this Saturday and the whole thing will be streamed live on the internet. Go here on Saturday AM (Japan time) to get the links for watching in English or Japanese. If you would like to see my talk, I will begin my 12-minute presentation around 9:25AM or so. I'll put my slides up on Slideshare later; if you want to get a sneak peek of the look and feel of the slides, I put a pic of the deck here. Information on the speakers and a schedule is located here in English and 日本語.
You can watch my 12-minute bamboo presentation on YouTube by going here for options to listen in English or with Japanese translation. If you want to see a PDF of the slides used in the talk, that is available here on Slideshare.net. To see a list of all the TEDxTokyo 2011 talks go here (Eng) and here (日本語).
Above. Speaking at TEDxTokyo last Saturday at 9:20 in the morning. Click image to go directly to the English version on Youtube.