Monday, March 9, 2009

Being a Smiler

Smiling matters. When I lived in New York everyone was just so busy trying to get from one place to another that there seemed to be no time for smiles. But I decided that every time I went out that I would smile more on the subways and as I passed people on the street. It often worked. They smiled back. I found New Yorkers to be wonderful people, even though they sometimes scowl.

In spite of what's said about New Yorkers, they are friendly and readily offer assistance when asked. The people of Detroit and its suburbs, however, are less friendly and are perhaps more suspicious. "What do you want?" This is often the response to a smile. "Nothing," my smile replies. I practice smiling, nonetheless, and often engage people on the street and in various offices.

Smiling makes the difference. People are drawn to kind faces; they want to hear you. You are far more likely to be heard than not when you wear a smile. Besides, fathers, mothers, co-workers, managers, waiters, and sales clerks often need encouragement too, even when it is their duty to serve and lead by example. It's funny how we can each change the atmosphere with a smile. The frontline or customer can lead too. It often helps you.

So, simply smile.


septembermom said...

I agree that we all need to smile more. When you smile at someone, you let your guard down. You're just one human being connecting in a kind way to another. I'm glad that I came upon your blog! It's funny that smiling is your topic today, because your smiling profile picture caught my attention right from the start :)

dave wheeler said...


Being both a trainer and manager in a Customer Service Call Center, your observations on smiling making a difference are terrifically on point. I learn the most by listening to calls. Many reps have the ability to transfer that smile through the phone lines through heir words and tone. They definitely can hear you smile.

To me reducing our EWPD Rate (Ear-Whipping's per Day) definitely improves our team's performance and decreases employee churn. A smile is a definite performance and productivity multiplier!

judith ellis said...

septembermom - Thank you for popping in. I'm glad you came upon my blog. Your sunflower absolutely made me smile. I, like millions of others smile when we see them. I love Van Gogh's paintings of sunflowers; in them I see his determination to smile even when times were obviously very rough for him.

I have read many of Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo and others and his inner life was indeed very complicated. I hope his very painting of sunshine often brought a smile to his face. He is a favorite. Do pop in again. By the way, I like the name of your blog, septembermom. Fall is a favorite season for its many colors and moms are simply super!

judith ellis said...

"A smile is a definite performance and productivity multiplier!"

So true, Dave. I was a trainer for Ford Motor Company and my charge was to smile at those as they entered the room. Many were there because they had to be there and I wanted my smile to represent that we were going to havve a good time and learn in the process. Beyond the smile, it is the tone of voice and inflection that mean a lot, not to mention the actual words, knowledge, and performance aspect of delivery in a "performance." I speak of these in a recent post, Being a Storyteller IV.

"Many reps have the ability to transfer that smile through the phone lines through heir words and tone. They definitely can hear you smile."

I love this. This is a wonderful point. Thank you. Your tone can invite others or cause them to tune out or become disgruntled. Though sometimes, as I know you know in your work, there is often nothing that can be done to assuage a customer's anger. I have been on both sides of this one, as a GM of a large mixed-used hotel and as a customer calling into Sprint. I will NEVER use Sprint again after terrible ongoing customer service experiences for the entire length of my contract. Ugh! Don't get me started on this one, please. :-)

lissa said...

great post. i really liked your observations about ny and detroit. a smile can do wonders. it's funny though that people would be suspicious of one.

judith ellis said...

Yes, lissa, it depends on where one is, inwardly and outwardly, and the very environment that one is groomed and surrounded in. But the most beautiful thing is that I have found that we would so much like to let our guard down as septembermom spoke of. A smile often does this. I loved her observation. By the way, I like your profile too for your pearly whites. :-) Glad to see you here. I'll pop over to your blog again now.

Brosreview said...

I couldn't agree with you more on this one. Coming from the medical background, let me share with you what me parents would tell me. It is now a common quote though and I am sure you must have read or heard of this.

"It takes 43 muscles to show an angry face. It only takes 17 to show your smile. So smile because it is easier".

A thoughtful post!!!

judith ellis said...

"It takes 43 muscles to show an angry face. It only takes 17 to show your smile. So smile because it is easier."

Yes, I know this saying. Nice.