Smile! It’s good for you

The TED talk that I listened to was called “The hidden power of smiling” by Ron Gutman.  While smiling is a pretty easy concept to understand, I found much of what he was talking about to be very interesting.  Also, I found it interesting that a topic like smiling would be listed in a playlist about titled “Business and Work”.  However, I do think that the two are related and Ron Gutman does make a connection between the two his talk.

In the Ted talk, Gutman talk about many different studies and how they show the positive impact of smiling.  First, he explains a study where they looked at old year book pictures and analyzed the smiles the people had.  For these pictures, people were able to predict how long a subjects marriage would be and guess how inspiring they would be to others.  Also, he discusses a study done on pre1950s professional baseball cards.  In the study, it concluded that the span of the players smile correlated the the life of his life.  So, the bigger the players smile was, the more likely that that player lived a longer life.   It turns out that studies like these are accurate because smiling has a lot of neurologically positive health benefits.  Smiling helps to decrease stress hormones, increase mood enhancing hormones, and reduce blood pressure.  Also, smiling makes us feel happy and gives us pleasure. Smiling is a greater pleasure inducer than chocolate, or money.

Also, smiling is a natural action for humans.  In the TED talk he discusses how babies smile in the womb, and even a blind baby that cannot see a smile, will smile when there hear human voices.  One third of people smile more than 20 times per day. Sliming also helps people give off positive impressions of them selves to others.  When people look at someone that is smiling they are more likely to like this person and will think that are more competent. This is where I see the business part being most applicable.  If people find people who smile more competent, it seems like it would be very beneficial for businesses to have employees that smile.  Smiling should be a key part of conducting business. Also, when people look at someone who is smiling they are very likely to smile back.  Below I included a graph I found that shows the amount of people that smile back at someone when they are either smiling or not smiling. As you can see, when someone is smiling it is very likely that someone will smile back at you.




I have also thought that smiling is very important in life.  When someone smiles it is almost impossible not to smile back, which makes that person happier, even it is not completely genuine.  Since it is so important to smile in life, I think it should be made important to smile in the business world too.  Over the years I think that the working environment or the company culture has become increasingly important when people are looking for places to work.  They want to know if people enjoy working at the companies that are employed by.  If workers smile more, they are typically happier.  I have found that there are companies now that are including smiling in their missions statements, and if not explicitly smiling, then happiness.  Companies want to stress the importance of having smiling and happy employees, and having their customers leave smiling.  The most explicit missions statement that I found that does this was from a frozen yogurt company named Menchie’s whose missions statement is simply “We make you smile”.  I think more companies should follow this lead and making smiling and happiness at the core of their company.

One thing that I really liked in the TED talk that I would like to emulate in my own presentations is the use of one metaphor that is consistent throughout.  In the beginning of the talk, the speaker said when he was young he wanted to have super powers to the could save the world and make everyone happy.  Through the talk he relates smiling to this super power.  It is something that you can do that can make yourself and people around you happy.  It was very consistent and put a good picture in my head, and made his point very clear.


8 responses to “Smile! It’s good for you

  1. Thanks for sharing, this is really interesting! I’m going to work on consciously smiling to improve my mood and many even life span. I think your on to something in regards to smiling to improve the mood at companies. I guess the challenge is encouraging it in a traditional corporate setting without it feeling hokey..


  2. When I read your blog title and began reading your blog post, I also wondered how this would relate to business and work. The presenter and you strongly articulated the point that smiling increases an individual’s mood and has the potential to increase a company’s environment. When people discuss improving a company’s environment, the solution typically revolves around huge changes. But maybe if every member of an organization just smiled a bit more, the working environment would be so much better. We’ll have to test out this theory when we enter the workforce next year.


  3. Smiling is something that people constantly forget to do! They are always caught up in everything that is going wrong rather than taking time to focus on the good things in life. Going into situations with a positive, happy approach is going to make things more enjoyable and overall better in the long run. Working in an environment where people are smiling when you walk past them is a more conducive way to get things done.


  4. I agree with Taylor, that many companies try to make these elaborate plans to improve company culture, when just smiling can go along way. By encouraging smiling and being polite it become so much nicer to work with people who smile at you, and people are happier to work them.


  5. There are several ways to make someone smile. At many fast food places, like McDonald’s, they require smiling. So, those employees are made to smile. I wonder if those smiles have the same positive effects.

    Great Book about routinizing emotional work: Fast Food, Fast Talk


  6. Pingback: Spread the Smiles | Stakeholder13Friday·

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