Smile More to Persuade

  • SumoMe

Big Smile

With very little effort, you can become a more persuasive speaker.

It’s as simple as smiling more.

Even the shortest of exposures to a smiling face can influence decisions.

In a research project discussed in Francesca Gino’s recent book, Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan, college students viewed a series of photographs, which included a 16 millisecond display of a photograph of a person expressing an emotion.  The 16 millisecond display was the “subliminal prime” which meant that the students could not consciously recognize the photo.   Prior to viewing the photos, the students were handed a note supposedly from another student encouraging them to take part later in another, unpaid beverage-tasting study.

“Among those subliminally primed with angry faces, 24 percent decided to take part in the beverage study; 41 percent of those subliminally primed with neutral faces decided to participate; and 62 percent of those subliminally primed with happy faces decided to participate.”  And, of those who participated in the beverage study, those viewing happy faces drank more.

Seeing a smiling face increases persuasion.

Additionally, by smiling, you create an emotional contagion, which also increases persuasion.

Have you ever noticed that when you are smiling in conversation (or in a presentation) that others tend to smile back?  Often this is a subconscious mimicking.  The very act of subconscious mimicking leads the person to experience the emotions mimicked.  And, emotions influence decisions.

Create a positive persuasive pull with smiling more.

Positive emotions pull.  Negative emotions push.

You will be less persuasive if you express anger.  Sure, you may get temporary compliance or agreement when you expressing anger, but you won’t be truly persuasive.

Or, as Ben Franklin once said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Persuade with a smile.