Smile-Your Countenance Matters!

Being half Irish, I love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day  I may not be a big fan of corned beef and cabbage, but bring on a pint of green brewsky and a good rendition of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and I’m in the zone!  
Have you ever thought about what your eyes—what your countenance in general, really—say about you? When I first meet someone, I look at their eyes  (are they kind?) and their mouth (are they joyful?). Sound crazy? Actually, these cues are often spot on, indicators of a person’s level of engagement. If the eyes and mouth don’t make a great first impression, it’s likely the rest of the person won’t either.
What impression do you give other people when they meet you for the first time? Your countenance matters! After all, the person you just met could become a new friend, future spouse, future in-law, potential employment reference, employer, manager, industry contact, mentor, or client. The fact is, life is a series of chance moments with others, and you never know what might become of the people you meet and the role they could play in your life.
There’s a wise saying: “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” In fact, most employment recruiters will say that the first 30 seconds of an interview will make or break your chances! Yes, that’s 30 seconds! For some, it only takes five!
In order to foster successful new relationships, it’s essential to make a great first impression with everyone you meet. Here’s all it takes:

  • Demonstrate through your countenance, words, and body language that you’re happy to meet them
  • Give a firm, confident handshake and look them in the eye
  • Smile and be positive and enthusiastic
  • Be inquisitive. Show an interest in them and in what they say. Focus more on listening to them than talking about yourself.
  • Remain engaged in the conversation and avoid distractions like calls and texts
  • Use good manners and be gracious

Surprisingly, many people just don’t get it. They allow negative thoughts, cynicism, suspicion, self-focus, and indifference to cloud their countenance. They may not realize it, but it shows—and it can be a real turnoff. They may say all the right things, do all the right things, yet wonder why others aren’t warming up. Many times, it all comes down to countenance. Your smile can make all the difference!
Just for fun, here are a few of my favorite smiles—people who are revered by their fan bases:


Magic Johnson after the famous Lakers Win May 16, 1980



Paula Creamer



Donald Driver


 How are your eyes and smile looking these days? What do they reveal about you? Try asking a few trusted friends about what your countenance is saying. Be sure you’re making a terrific first impression—there’s more at stake than you think!
Think about the people you are drawn to—and those you aren’t. Then think about their eyes and smiles (or lack thereof). Does their countenance play into your impression of them? What type of impression do YOU make on others? Please share your thoughts and feedback with us; we’d love to hear from you.

Notice How Others React to You

Have you ever noticed that some people who seem to have it all (e.g., good looks, smarts, sense of humor) often “flunk the test” in social and business settings?
At one time or another, each of us loses an audience. Whether from excessive detail, uninteresting subject matter, overlong monologues, or an unappealing style, we sometimes miss the mark. It’s never fun for either party, but the good news is we can limit the damage. 
Great communicators carefully analyze nonverbal cues.  They study their audience’s facial and body language to see the impression they’re making. Where needed, they make midcourse corrections along the way. 
Conversely, we’ve all been around people who have no idea how poorly they’re coming across—especially in social situations. It can take the forms of poor hygiene, irritating habits, boring conversation, or trying too hard to impress.  Usually, we don’t have the heart to tell them, hoping they’ll eventually get the hint from our cues.
When you’re with others—socially or professionally—be attentive to how they react to you. Their feedback, often unspoken, is extremely valuable and will allow you to adapt if it’s unflattering. Study their eyes and facial expressions, as well as their body language. If they appear bored, quickly get to the point, raise your enthusiasm meter, or involve them more in the conversation.
Your ability to successfully communicate is a vitally important skill to master. By being sensitive to your audience, you’ll improve your odds immensely.
Have you learned to monitor others’ reactions to you? How do you respond?
Post your comments here on our website or visit us on my Facebook fan page; we’d love to hear from you! And, as always, please share us with your followers,friends, colleagues, or young adults in your life. We’ve all got room to grow!