Big Presentations in Small Rooms book cover

Big Presentations in Small Rooms

helping ordinary people communicate with extraordinary effectiveness

1 POWERFUL RAPPORT BUILDER: THE SMILE

RAPPORT BUILDER: A GIFT FOR YOU

A rapport builder is a gift waiting to be unwrapped. It is easy to leave it in the box, but you would be losing all the joyful benefits of it. This one is worth opening.

You know your message. You know your audience. You prepared and practiced a presentation that will connect the audience to your goal.

You are ready to do this!

Before you speak, here is something else to consider. It is a powerful application that can strengthen your message if it is used wisely.

RAPPORT BUILDER: AN AUTHENTIC SMILE

Think about the last time you experienced something truly pleasant.

Maybe it was a reconnection with an old friend.

It might have been a road trip memory of a beautiful sunset on a clear cool evening.

Perhaps it was the achievement of a long pursuit goal.

Or maybe a Christmas morning memory of seeing all the family together enjoying each other’s company.

Even as I write these words, I realize I am smiling. And it is a good smile, an authentic smile. 

My entire face participates in it. Everything goes up! The corners of my mouth, my cheeks, my eyebrows. 

Eyes become half-circles matching the arch of my eyebrows.

I’m sitting on the porch at Starbucks as I compose this article. As people walk by, I look up at them with a smile on my face. A smile inspired by the words I’m writing. And they look back at me and without thinking about it they smile in return. It is a natural reaction followed by a curious head tilt.

“Why are we smiling?”

Want to see it happening? Watch this.

Even when you know what to expect, it works!

An authentic smile can light up a room. An authentic smile can be contagious. You can create a reverse Domino rally where people are lifted up instead of knocked down.

While researching this subject, I found an article that asked if we smile too much.  They said the answer was “probably.”  I was intrigued. As I read it, I discovered that the article was really about was the importance of authenticity and wisdom regarding context.  You smile too much if you smile all the time because that probably means you are smiling when you don’t mean it and you are smiling at inappropriate times.

RAPPORT BUILDER:  AN APPROPRIATE SMILE

An authentic smile is a powerful tool. And with any powerful tool, there will be cheap invitations and inappropriate applications.

There are several types of smiles. 

See if you can visualize each one as I list them.

The tight-lipped obligatory smile.

The condescending smile.

The sarcastic smirk.

There are smiles reserved for specific situations.

The “Oops, did you see that?” smile.

The gentle “I’m sorry you’re having to go through this” smile.

The “Whoa! Did you see that?” smile.

The “Did you take the picture yet?” smile.

Woman smiling.
What type of smile is this? Photo by Vin Stratton on Unsplash;

Wisdom is required to match the smile to the situation. And to know when you should not be smiling at all.

Yes, it is possible to small too much, because if you’re smiling all the time then you will eventually smile at inappropriate times.

It is also true that authentic and appropriate smiles are a welcome addition to almost every setting. 

RAPPORT BUILDER: TRUST AND AFFINITY

When making big presentations, one of the best things you can do is build rapport. Rapport is a powerful combination of trustworthiness and affinity.

Having an authentic smile strengthens your affinity with the audience. It is easy to like someone who greets you with an authentic and welcoming smile.

It could also help build trust. The audience is more likely to share their thoughts with someone who exhibits an open smile because that smile builds relational trust.

“…a smile perceived as genuine is an honest signal that displays a readiness to cooperate. It aims to encourage others to cooperate in situations that require justified trust” (Manfred Milinski, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, https://phys.org/news/2014-11-smiling-builds-trust.html)

Presentation Rapport creates smiles.
Smiles are contagious. Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash.

RAPPORT BUILDER ALWAYS AVAILABLE

An authentic smile is a powerful and easily accessible tool.

“No matter where you go, there you are.” (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension)

… And your smile goes with you!

Movie Poster for Buckaroo Banzai
Presentation Rapport remembers the wisdom of Buckaroo Bonzai.

You don’t have to use it all the time. But you might be able to use it more than you currently are. And you might be able to reap the benefits of rapport both in your personal and professional lives.
And in your presentations, an appropriate smile could help the audience listen with more engagement and with a more cooperative mindset.

The appropriate use of an authentic smile can help you make Big Presentations.

Are you looking for a community of encouragement and guidance? Join The Workplace Presentations Hub and receive a bonus resource, “Quick Tips for Storytelling.” Want to hear more? Check out The Big Presentations Podcast.

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