In the early nineteenth century, the French physician Guillaume Duchenne studied the heads of those executed by the guillotine to decipher facial muscles. He discovered two distinct types of smiles based on two sets of muscles: the zygomatic major muscle which raises the corners of the mouth; and the orbicularis oculi muscle which raises the cheeks and forms crow’s feet around the eyes. What’s significant is that the zygomatic muscles are consciously controlled and the orbicularis oculi act independently. Many researchers have concluded that this means the distinction between genuine and fake smiles. A natural, genuine smile will produce wrinkles around the eyes (orbicularis oculi) and insincere smiles only use the mouth (zygomatic muscles).
A smile, fake or genuine, is a key tool for business that most people overlook. Smiling is a significant influencer in other people’s attitudes, especially towards you. It’s also a submission signal, which you can manipulate for different situations. Women, seen as submissive and nurturing, smile significantly more than men in both social and business situations and research has shown that baby girls smile far more than baby boys. What’s even more interesting is that unsmiling women are seen has unhappy and unattractive whereas unsmiling men are seen as dominant and powerful. It would be beneficial for a woman to smile less when dealing with more dominant individuals, especially in business. And men, smiling more, especially when trying to persuade a woman, will help you reach your goal.
According to the Definitive Book of Body Language, science has proven that the more you smile, the more positive reactions others will give you. Authors Allan and Barbara Pease have discovered, after 30 years of studying the sales and negotiation process, that smiling at the appropriate time, such as the opening stages of a negotiating situation, leads to more successful outcomes and higher sales ratios.
A smile is the one thing I tell my clients to force because it’s an automatic signal that you’re non-threatening and open to communication. Most people can’t consciously tell the difference between a sincere or fake smile thus producing positive results. The amazing thing about a smile? It’s almost always returned back to you when given to someone else.