7 secret advantages of speakers who smile

Want to reduce stress, get more positive feedback from your audience, and appear more confident? Crack a smile.

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Yes, seven of them. They are the secret advantages of the speaker who smiles.

Ron Gutman summarized much of the research about the benefits of smiling in a 2011 TED Talk. Here are some of his points that are most relevant to speakers, along with some tips I share with my trainees.

The speaker who smiles:

1. Feels better. When you pull your muscles into a smile, your face sends feedback to the brain, which modifies how your brain processes emotional content. The end result: You feel better when you smile. Some research suggests that smiling feels better to your brain than eating chocolate. (You may wish to test this out at home.)

2. Doesn’t look grim or bored. When your face is at rest, your physiology works against you-most people’s mouths are either a flat line or slightly downturned. Even a small smile will counteract that appearance. If you need proof, take a quick look at people on television who don’t think the camera is on them. You’ll see those flat lines or downward turns of the mouth.

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