How-to Wipe that Scowl Off Your Face

    April 20, 2009

    About 8 years ago I was in acting class performing a yogurt commercial on camera. I remember feeling so proud that I memorized the whole thing in about 10 minutes. My diction was perfect. I kept my head still and stopped my funny eyebrow twitch. I emphasized all the important words and delivered the last line believably right into the camera. After I stepped off the stage I felt I delivered the best yogurt commercial in the world, and that everyone would want to buy my yogurt, and that every yogurt company would want to hire me as a spokesperson for their yogurt.

    I sat in my chair and the instructor loaded the tape for playback. As I watched myself and watched my instructor scribble critiques on his yellow pad I couldn't believe my eyes. I looked so angry on camera. The yogurt no longer sounded amazing, but instead sounded like someone was trying to shove it down my throat. What was missing? I didn't smile when I delivered it.

    Not smiling is a common problem I notice among entrepreneurs - and not just applicable to the acting/modeling world. People deliver job interviews, media interviews, sales presentations and general greetings without a smile. If they could watch themselves on playback, they would see that instead of coming off warm, appealing and savvy - they come off like someone with a permanent scowl on their face.

    How can you showcase your sparkling personality?

    1. Practice speaking in the mirror. If you really want to have fun, record yourself and play it back. Say your elevator pitch, practice your answers to interview questions, or pretend to meet someone at a networking event. If your spouse starts wondering why you look in the mirror so much, tell them it's business.
    2. Ask for critiques from respected colleagues, family and friends. How do they see you?
    3. Understand and accept that if you're not achieving the sales you want or securing multiple interviews that you may need to observe your public attitude and make changes. This can be a hard pill to swallow - knowing people view you as a big grump that they don't want to be around. But it's easy to fix!
    4. Always take the high road. If you witness people putting other's down, just walk away or change the subject. The professional world is not high school - remember to break the 'catty' reputation and focus on supporting one another!
    5. Smile, smile, smile! Nothing warms a room like a friendly smile. Even if they don't buy your sales pitch, at least they know you had a good attitude while delivering it!
    Read Melissa's other blog entries >

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