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HOW TO TALK TO ANYONE
92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships
By Leil Lowndes
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2012Leil Lowndes
All rights reserved.
How to Make Your Smile Magically Different
In 1936, one of Dale Carnegie's six musts in How to Win Friends and Influence People was SMILE! His edict has been echoed each decade by practically every communications guru who ever put pen to paper or mouth to microphone. However, at the turn of the millennium, it's high time we reexamine the role of the smile in high-level human relations. When you dig deeper into Dale's dictum, you'll find a 1936 quick smile doesn't always work. Especially nowadays.
The old-fashioned instant grin carries no weight with today's sophisticated crowd. Look at world leaders, negotiators, and corporate giants. Not a smiling sycophant among them. Key players in all walks of life enrich their smile so, when it does erupt, it has more potency and the world smiles with them.
Researchers have catalogued dozens of different types of smiles. They range from the tight rubber band of a trapped liar to the soft squishy smile of a tickled infant. Some smiles are warm while others are cold. There are real smiles and fake smiles. (You've seen plenty of those plastered on the faces of friends who say they're "delighted you decided to drop by," and presidential candidates visiting your city who say they're "thrilled to be in, uh ... uh....") Big winners know their smile is one of their most powerful weapons, so they've fine-tuned it for maximum impact.
How to Fine-Tune Your Smile
Just last year, my old college friend Missy took over her family business, a Midwestern company supplying corrugated boxes to manufacturers. One day she called saying she was coming to New York to court new clients and she invited me to dinner with several of her prospects. I was looking forward to once again seeing my friend's quicksilver smile and hearing her contagious laugh. Missy was an incurable giggler, and that was part of her charm.
When her Dad passed away last year, she told me she was taking over the business. I thought Missy's personality was a little bubbly to be a CEO in a tough business. But, hey, what do I know about the corrugated box biz?
She, three of her potential clients, and I met in the cocktail lounge of a midtown restaurant and, as we led them into the dining room, Missy whispered in my ear, "Please call me Melissa tonight."
"Of course," I winked back, "not many company presidents are called Missy!" Soon after the maître d' seated us, I began noticing Melissa was a very different woman from the giggling girl I'd known in college. She was just as charming; she smiled as much as ever. Yet something was different. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
Although she was still effervescent, I had the distinct impression everything Melissa said was more insightful and sincere. She was responding with genuine warmth to her prospective clients, and I could tell they liked her, too. I was thrilled because my friend was scoring a knockout that night. By the end of the evening, Melissa had three big new clients.
Afterward, alone with her in the cab, I said, "Missy, you've really come a long way since you took over the company. Your whole personality has developed, well, a really cool, sharp corporate edge."
"Uh uh, only one thing has changed," she said.
"My smile," she said.
"Your what?" I asked incredulously.
"My smile," she repeated as though I hadn't heard her. "You see," she said, with a distant look coming into her eyes, "when Dad got sick and knew in a few years I'd have to take over the business, he sat me down and had a life-changing conversation with me. I'll never forget his words. Dad said, 'Missy, Honey, remember that old song, "I Loves Ya, Honey, But Yer Feet's Too Big"? Well, if you're going to make it big in the box business, let me say, "I loves ya, Honey, but your smile's too quick." '
"He then brought out a yellowed newspaper article quoting a study he'd been saving to show me when the time was right. It concerned women in business. The study showed women who were slower to smile in corporate life were perceived as more credible."
As Missy talked, I began to think about history-making women like Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Madeleine Albright, and other powerful women of their ilk. Not one was known for her quick smile.
Missy continued, "The study went on to say a big, warm smile is an asset. But only when it comes a little slower, because then it has more credibility." From that moment on, Missy explained, she gave clients and business associates her big smile. However, she trained her lips to erupt more slowly. Thus her smile appeared more sincere and personalized for the recipient.
That was it! Missy's slower smile gave her personality a richer, deeper, more sincere cachet. Though the delay was less than a second, the recipients of her beautiful big smile felt it was special and just for them.
I decided to do more research on the smile. When you're in the market for shoes, you begin to look at everyone's feet. When you decide to change your hairstyle, you look at everyone's haircut. Well, for several months, I became a steady smile watcher. I watched smiles on the street. I watched smiles on TV. I watched the smiles of politicians, the clergy, corporate giants, and world leaders. My findings? Amid the sea of flashing teeth and parting lips, I discovered the people perceived to have the most credibility and integrity were just ever so slower to smile. Then, when they did, their smiles seemed to seep into every crevice of their faces and envelop them like a slow flood. Thus I call the following technique "The Flooding Smile."
Let us now travel but a few inches north to two of the most powerful communications tools you possess, your eyes.CHAPTER 2
How to Strike Everyone as Intelligent and Insightful by Using Your Eyes
It's only a slight exaggeration to say Helen of Troy could launch ships with her eyes and Davy Crockett could stare down a bear. Your eyes are personal grenades that have the power to detonate people's emotions. Just as martial arts masters register their fists as lethal weapons, you can register your eyes as psychological lethal weapons when you master the following eye-contact techniques.
Beloved people in the game of life look beyond the conventional wisdom that teaches "Keep good eye contact." For one, they understand that to certain suspicious or insecure people, intense eye contact can be a virulent intrusion.
When I was growing up, my family had a Haitian housekeeper whose fantasies were filled with witches, warlocks, and black magic. Zola refused to be left alone in a room with Louie, my Siamese cat. "Louie looks right through me—sees my soul," she'd whisper to me fearfully.
In some cultures, intense eye contact is sorcery. In others, staring at someone can be threatening or disrespectful. Realizing this, big players in the international scene prefer to pack a book on cultural body-language differences in their carry-on rather than a Berlitz phrase book. In our culture, however, big winners know exaggerated eye contact can be extremely advantageous, especially between the sexes. In business, even when romance is not in the picture, strong eye contact packs a powerful wallop between men and women.
A Boston center conducted a study to learn the precise effect. The researchers asked opposite-sex individuals to have a two-minute casual conversation. They tricked half their subjects into maintaining intense eye contact by directing them to count the number of times their partner blinked. They gave the other half of the subjects no special eye-contact directions for the chat.&
Excerpted from HOW TO TALK TO ANYONE by Leil Lowndes. Copyright © 2012 by Leil Lowndes. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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