Seven smiles to use in your presentations

After a presentation, an audience member once told me: “You have a great smile and you know how to use it.” But that’s not exactly correct.

In fact, I have seven smiles, each serving a different and unique purpose. By using these smiles effectively, slipping them in when and where they are most effective, I add an array of spices to my presentations.

In this blog post, I describe each of those smiles and share how you too can use them to instantly build life and energy into your presentation.

1. The warm flooding smile

This smile really hits home. To master the warm, flooding smile, look at a member of your audience for at least 2 seconds and let your smile flood your face, the warmth spilling through your eyes. This smile says ‘I see you and I like what I see’ – it makes your audience instantly feel warm and fuzzy inside. Use this smile at the beginning of your presentation to quickly build rapport and at the end to appreciate those who ask intelligent questions. For best effects, only use it on one person at a time –smiling warmly at five people at once doesn’t have the same effect.

Image source: GIPHY

2. The coy smile

This smile teases your audience and tells them you have a secret. It says “I am up to something” and puts your audience in adventure mode. It makes them curious to know what happens next.

Use this smile to hold the suspense before your big reveal to peak your audience’s curiosity and leave them begging for more.

Sly coy smile

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3. The embarrassed smile

Oops! You made a boo boo. A planned one of course, within the flow of your narrative. This smile is great to use when telling a personal, self-deprecating story with the objective of showing the audience what not to do by using your own mistakes as examples. It ensures your audience still likes you – even when you mess things up.

Embarrassed smile

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4. The Cheshire Cat

This one is just plain goofy. It tells your audience that you are mighty, mighty pleased about something, and it makes your glee infectious. The Chesire Cat adds humour to your presentation by conveying an unnatural degree of enthusiasm for your subject. Used effectively, it makes your audience equally delighted. Unfortunately, when used excessively, it makes you come across a tad creepy.

Cheshire cat grin

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5. The awkward smile

This smile is also used for comedic effect. It highlights an incongruity in your story that doesn’t sit well with you.

Awkward grin

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6. The sad smile

This one endears you to your audience. It will make them want to take you home and cuddle and feed you. It poetically conveys a quiet resignation to the painful despondence of your situation.

Sad smile

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7. The questioning smile

This smile is the one to use after you’ve asked a question from your audience which you are expecting a response to. It looks intrigued and welcoming, peering non-threateningly yet curiously into the eyes of your audience members. It invites them to be forthcoming with thoughts, opinions, ideas and questions by showing them they are in a safe, non-judgemental and creative environment.

Questioning smile

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So there you have it! The seven types of smiles to add vitality to every presentation. Which ones have you tried, and to what effect? Let us know in the comments!

Paul Rudd smiles

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For one-on-one training on how to augment your presentation with brilliant body language, ask us about our presentation training.