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5 Reasons Why Smiling Will Improve Our Public Speaking

Updated: Feb 1, 2022


Too many public speakers deliver their entire message without smiling once. The sans smile delivery is most often due to nerves or anxiety. This lack of confidence is often perceived by the audience and as a result we may very well have them doubt our competence.

This is not only a recipe for disaster, but a real missed opportunity. Smiling is one of our most important communication tools. It should be front and center on our nonverbal communication tool belt.

When we are speaking before a group, our smile can be our secret weapon. In public speaking, sharing a smile has the power to:

  1. Reduce Our Stress. The act of smiling releases neurotransmitters that will immediately calm our nerves. According to Psychology Today, smiling, even if we do not feel like smiling, relaxes our bodies and sends a message to our brains that we are fine.

  2. Improve Our Attitude. Every time we smile, our bodies release dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins that will positively change the way we feel. Our attitude wields a powerful influence on our presentation’s outcome. So, beginning our presentation with a positive, “we’ve got this”, mindset, is key.

  3. Uplift Our Audience. Smiling is contagious. Mirror neurons cause humans to reciprocate every smile received. This means the positive biological ramifications of smiling spreads to all those who receive our smile. Why wouldn’t we want our audience to be in the most positive frame of mind to welcome our message and us?

  4. Build Audience Rapport. We are pre-wired to connect with others via a smile. The act of smiling tells those around us that we are friendly, approachable, and relatable. Beyond the visual cues, smiling while we are speaking instantly adds warmth to our vocal tone that a listener can sense without even seeing us. That is why call center agents are taught to smile while answering the phone.

  5. Convey Our Competence. First impressions are formed by viewers in just seconds and are very difficult to change. These first impressions are based almost exclusively on body language. When we begin with a smile, the general perception is that we are more competent, because we are confident enough to relax and smile.

The positive effects of a smile are overwhelming in its favor when it comes to public speaking. I coach clients to begin smiling approximately 10 minutes before they walk in front of the group and then flash a smile at their audience before saying a word.

My big smile is my greatest communication asset. Please understand how important it is to make it yours.

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