Five Tips For Putting Your Best Face Forward

Five Tips For Putting Your Best Face Forward

Photo: Richard Masoner/Flickr

Stop! Don't move a muscle. Seriously- without a change of facial expression go look in a mirror or grab your cellphone camera and put it on "selfie" mode. Go on, I'll wait. 

Okay, I'm trusting you took a good look at yourself. What did you see? More importantly, what would others have seen? 

For those with the opportunity to observe it, your facial expression plays into the perceptions they may have of your competence or of the care you have for them. Unfortunately, what it says isn't always the truth and that could be bad news for you in the area of customer engagement or with any other relationship in your life.

Were you aware that your thinking face could communicate that you are angry or bored? Customers may walk into your small business and believe you are "mean mugging" when in reality you are just thinking of a solution to a previously presented problem. I'm sure you don't need me to spell out the problems that could be caused by that type of misunderstanding. 

Many times our minds are on other things beyond the task at hand. Perhaps we are affected by an illness, a personal situation at home, or that it's two hours before lunch but we need that sandwich now. We're human and it happens. It should never happen at the expense of your customer or the reputation of your small business.

I'm not suggesting that you walk around with a big grin at all times. Not only would that not be genuine, it would be creepy and people would be suspicious of you. What I am saying is that if we want to engage better with others, we must be cognizant of how we appear to them. 

Do we give the impression that we are approachable or do we give off a "leave me alone" vibe? It matters in business and it matters in our personal lives. 

I choose to believe you are reading this because you want to be better when it comes to relationships. Mastering your facial expression will help. Here are 5 tips to help others get the best impression of you.

  1. Check yourself out.  Do this periodically. Don't focus on your features- your nose is perfect just the way it is. Instead, randomly check out your expression and make an honest determination about what emotion or personality trait you are conveying. Is that the message you are wanting to send? 
  2. Solicit feedback. Ask a trusted associate or family member to evaluate your expression on a random basis. Don't allow them to get by with a "you look fine" comment. Ask for specificity. Do you have a look that makes people comfortable talking with you or one that would make them avoid you? Do you look happy to help or like you would rather be anywhere else but here?
  3. Practice smiling! The best way to do that is not to stand in front of the mirror while turning the corners of your mouth up. Your smile will look phony. You only have to look at your favorite child's school photographs to know that is true. Instead, when you are in your neutral mode, practice thinking of things that you are fond of or that you find funny. Think of the people and things for which you are grateful. Your expression will be a positive reflection of those thoughts.
  4. Think positive. When you think in terms of favorable outcomes and solutions as opposed to worst case scenarios and obstacles, the expression on your face typically will match the thoughts. You'll also find that your attitude as a whole will change and you will begin to see more success in all areas of your life.
  5. Be professional. When you are at work, recognize that you are there for a purpose- to serve your customers. Not only to serve them, but to do so in a way that causes them to want to come back. A lot of that depends on you intentionally remembering where you are and what you are doing. When you are specifically focusing on the people around you with a servant's heart, it will show on your face.  
  6. If you're happy and you know it clap your hands. If you're happy and you know it clap your hands. If you're happy and you know it, your face will surely show it, if you're happy and you know it clap your hands. 

Number six was a bonus. Be honest- did you sing it? I hope so. I would love to know your thoughts on this post and what you do to ensure you are putting your best face forward. How do you best convey the person in front of you has your full time and attention?