I was told to wipe the smile off my face, if I was going to be taken seriously. The article was clear, to the point, complete with a set of instructions on how to tilt the chin, make eye contact and minimize the shrillness of my voice. Beware of overusing the smile. Leaders employ this technique with careful precision to diminish the likelihood of being taken as the junior assistant. Too much smiling is hazardous for those climbing the social or corporate ladder. If I follow “leadership protocol” in my body language as prescribed by experts, I am certain to pass the networking gauntlet with flying colours.
Without question, body language is a science. There are professionals that can perceive internal thoughts by understanding subtle external signals. Even non-experts, like me, have the innate ability to decipher obvious signs of happiness, distress, sorrow or anger.
Is it possible to control body language to produce a specific outcome? And is it possible to sustain the control so that it becomes a habit? Now I am curious. Will altering external actions, modify internal belief systems and visa versa?
I love to smile – the kind that is honest, open and ready to embrace life. When I smile, I feel happy, relaxed and more engaged with the people who I connect with on a daily basis. Smiling is one of humanity’s greatest gift. It should not be parcelled out in miserly allotments to prove questionable leadership qualities. I’ll take the junior assistant’s position if it means I can exercise my smile muscles.
Here is my take. Internal behaviour is the change agent. External outcomes are a reflection of who we are, what we believe in and what we strive to accomplish. That is something to celebrate.
Smile generously, smile joyously, smile courageously.
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”