7 March 2013

How to win friends with a smile

When you smile, does the world smile with you?  If not, you could be doing it the wrong way, according to a German anthropologist who's been investigating the effect smiling and laughter have on others.

Volunteers were shown video films of people laughing and smiling in different ways and asked to rate them for sincerity and friendliness, according to the magazine New Scientist.  Analysis of the ratings produced the following tips for those who would like to win friend and influence and people:

  • never smile for longer than seven seconds - and be sure to blink at the same time.  A longer beam with widely open eyes is interpreted as aggressive.
  • widen your mouth quickly when you laugh and briefly close your eyes after the climax of the laugh if you're anxious to appear friendly (lots to remember!).
  • to seem friendlier still, avoid looking into the face of the person you are with immediately after reopening your eyes.

It may sound a bit far-fetched, but may prove very useful for vote-winning politicians, public relations people and others whose professional success depends on public approval.

As the song goes in the musical Annie:  'you're never fully dressed without a smile!'.

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