It's Not Only How You Say It
When you're in the middle of a meeting, you might not give much thought to the expression on your face, but you should. Your facial expressions send messages that are just as important as the message or content you're presenting. They allow you to enhance your point, distract from it or potentially confuse your audience.
Nicole Lowenbraun, an executive communication coach, corporate speech pathologist and content consultant, asserts that an important part of your job is making the right facial expressions. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Lowenbraun's concepts to keep in mind when it comes to facial expressions, whether you're on camera, on stage presenting, communicating in a meeting or sitting across from a prospect.
Embrace your face's movements. Lowenbraun says that facial expressions create dynamism. They give the impression that you stand behind your ideas and believe in them. Research shows that when you use your face—specifically the little lines around your eyes—others perceive you as conveying more intense and sincere emotions.
Use facial expressions that match your content. If you say you're thrilled about a new initiative, your face better tell the same story. If your facial expression doesn't match your message, you run the risk of being seen as belittling or condescending.
Go ahead and smile at work. Many people think smiling in the workplace will rob them of their authority. Lowenbraun says that's not the case. Instead of making you appear weak, smiling makes you look approachable. Not smiling can be interpreted as cold.
Pay attention to your audience's facial expressions. If you took Public Speaking 101, you know the importance of scanning the room. Your audience's facial expressions are just as important as your own. When you take a minute to read faces, you can respond appropriately. If you see people in your audience with cold, skeptical or frowning facial expressions, take it with a grain of salt and consider asking them for feedback. You could say, "I'm sensing some concern. What questions do you have?"
Be mindful of your facial expressions on video. If you're communicating remotely on camera, the only tools you have to sound convincing are your voice and your facial expressions. Your audience can't see your entire body and they don't have in-person contact to form a connection. Facial expressions go a long way at persuading them with your message.
Practice in front of a mirror. Want to see what your face does when you're speaking? Try standing in front of a mirror and practicing. You have to see what your face is doing in order to make impactful changes. If you're on a conference call where no one can see you, use that time to practice while you're having a real conversation.
You have an important message to convey. Use your facial expressions to solidify your point.
Source: Nicole Lowenbraun is an executive communication coach, corporate speech pathologist, content consultant and facilitator who motivates business professionals to look and sound as smart as they are. She empowers entry-level through C-suite executives to be authoritative, passionate, authentic and audience-focused communicators and presenters.