If you want to make a good first impression, smile at people. What does it cost to smile? Nothing. What does it cost not to smile? Everything.If you don’t believe that smiling is useful, answer these questions:
- Do you like hanging around grumpy people?
- Do you know anyone who does?
- Do you think that angry people get what they want?
The key to a great, George-Clooney-esque smile is to think pleasant thoughts. If you’re grumpy inside, it’s hard to have a smile that lights up a room, and the most you’ll accomplish is a “fake smile.”
Anatomically speaking, a fake smile only uses the zygomatic major muscle—the one that runs from your jaw to the corner of your mouth. It’s easy to control this muscle, so it leads to fake or “Pan American smiles” (called this because flight attendants on Pan American weren’t truly happy to see passengers).
A real smile uses the orbicularis oculi muscle too. This is the muscle that surrounds your eyes—it makes you squint and produces “crow’s feet.” A real smile is so special that it has its own name: the Duchenne smile in honor of Guillaume Duchenne, a French neurologist.
So when you meet people, think pleasant thoughts, fire up the orbicularis oculi muscle, make crow’s feet so deep that they can hold water, and skip the botox treatments and facelift to increase your likeability.