When I walk down the street or a long corridor in a public building, I still am surprised sometimes when others start smiling at me.
For just a moment, I find myself wondering what’s causing the friendly look on the face of these strangers.
Then I remember that dating back to when I was just a child, others have noted that I seem to always have a smile on my face.
Truth be told, I now have the smile lines under my eyes to prove it.
Over the years, I have come to realize that many of the smiles I receive, especially from people I have never even met, are a direct response to my “smiling at them”.
In Adversaries Into Allies, Bob Burg refers to a smile as the “ultimate frame-setter”.
Burg views a smile as a powerful way to begin a relationship, start a conversation or overcome a challenge with someone else.
Daniel Goleman, in Working with Emotional Intelligence, writes that “smiles are the most contagious emotional signal of all, having an almost irresistible power to make others smile in return.”
And, Dale Carnegie devoted an entire chapter in How to Win Friends and Influence People to the powerful influence of a sincere smile.
As it turns out, very few of us smile “for no reason at all”.
Think about how differently our personal and professional interactions would go if we approached them with positive expectation.
The next time you are getting ready to engage someone, whether it is a colleague, a child, a significant other or a serviceperson, put a smile on your face.
If your experience is anything like mine, you will soon find others smiling back at you!