In the first part of this article you read about why smiling is so important, but it is not always a simple matter to do it spontaneously. To allow you to familiarize yourself with smiling I’m going to suggest some exercises which you can do. Following on from the section on exercises there is a ‘This-May-Happen-To-You’ section, which outlines some of the possible results of these exercises. This will give you a basis of comparison for your own experiences.
1. Warm-Ups In Front of the Mirror
Perhaps you normally look in the mirror primarily to see if your hair is okay, if your makeup is well applied, if you are smooth shaven and if your skin has no blemishes. Now is the time for sincere facial expressions. Call up a happy feeling and then smile at yourself. Then smile just once with only your mouth (without your eyes joining in). Do you see the difference? Now turn away from the mirror and imagine a situation in which you actually want to smile, but you consider it to be difficult. Imagine that this situation is actually taking place at this very moment. Now smile at the imaginary other person who plays a role in the scenario. Then turn back to the mirror. What does your smile actually look like?
2. Put It Into Practice
Greet everyone you meet at your workplace next week with a pleasant smile, as if you are genuinely happy to see them. You don’t have to keep a permanent grin on your face during the entire conversation. It’s enough for this exercise that you simile every time you come into contact with someone. Don’t tell the people you’re talking to that you are smiling as part of an exercise, or the effect will be lost.
3. Study the Reactions
Observe the reactions of others to your behaviour. Do they smile back? Does it seem like the meeting goes better or worse than usual? Does everyone seem to be surprised? Are there people who respond suspiciously, too? Does the meeting last longer or shorter than normal? Do you get the idea that when you regularly meet people during the week (with a smile), something has changed in your relationship with them? Write down at the end of each day what the reactions of other people were.
4. Compare the Differences
Is there a difference between the reactions of men and women? Does age make a difference? Does it matter which position the other people have in the organisation: whether they are your superiors, direct colleagues of subordinates? How do the people you normally don’t have much contact with react? Do receptionists, cleaners, technicians, canteen staff, suppliers, and customers react differently than your direct colleagues?
5. Describe Your Own Reactions
Did you have something against this exercise? Did you find this exercise difficult or easy in the end? Did you feel ridiculous while doing the exercise at any moment? Was there a moment you wanted to stop with exercise? If so, why? Did you have the idea that your opinion about others sometimes changed? Did you spend more time with people who you didn’t like so well before? Did you notice that you got along with them better? How did it feel when others smiled at you?