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What Your Face is Saying About Your Attitude

     I once coached a front office person on the importance of customer service excellence.  She was the greeter of new and established clients when they walked through the front door.  Bottom line, she was not suited for that portion of the job.  Though she was organized, diligent, detail-oriented, and punctual, she lacked skills on the people side of her job.  She struggled with making clients feel warm and welcome in the business.  Her phone skills were also lacking because the tone of her voice, though calm, was not pleasant.  I talked to her about the simple act of smiling.  Of course it shows up on the face, but it's also heard in the voice.  With a blank look and absolutely no inflection in her voice, she said, "But I am smiling."  Insert emoji with the surprised look here.
     I thought she was joking at first, but she was serious--about smiling.  One of her greatest challenges was that of so many of us--a lack of self-awareness.  She had no idea what she looked like to other people.  She was a kind lady with a sincere desire to do her job well.  She simply had no clue about how her face reflected what people believed about her attitude. 
     Whether an accurate assessment of our intentions and the great person we believe we are, what we present to the people who encounter us starts with what they see.  Keeping in mind that until you open your mouth to correct any misperceptions, every one of us is judged immediately upon meeting someone.  Your body language, your facial expressions--they both give an impression of who you are in that moment.  That might not be who you are at all, but depending on what was happening in your life at the time, you'll be judged on how you present yourself.  That's why the old saying "first impressions are lasting impressions" is both important and true.  People will generally remember how they met you, especially if it was a great experience or an awful one.
     You would think putting on a welcoming expression would be an easy thing for most people.  Some seem to wear a perpetual smile on their faces giving a sense that they are always content.  But those who struggle in this area (mostly pessimists) will usually doubt a person's sincerity and judge them as phony.  They don't believe people are that happy all the time.  Getting stoic, serious, bland people to put on this important "attitude accessory" is difficult.  It seems disingenuous.  They don't smile just to be kind.  There has to be a reason.

     But remember this:  Smiling isn't always for you.  It's better used when given to someone else.  Helping people not to judge you unfairly because you have a dead or sour look is only half the reason.  Giving pleasant "face" is like giving a compliment to someone.  It makes them feel good.  In customer service, this is essential.  And not just smiling, but any other look of being approachable, helpful, interested, thoughtful, concerned, and engaged.  Our face and body language speak volumes.  What is yours saying?
     DO THIS:  Would love to see your best face.  Upload a selfie or photo of you on the Sharper Development Solutions Facebook page at in the comments section of this post.  Go ahead...give us good face. 


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