Posted by: faultlessfinish | May 9, 2011

The Power of a Smile

Sometimes there’s just no way around it: life gets tough. Circumstances will inevitably come along that are completely out of our control, in business and in our personal lives. But never underestimate the power of a smile.

So let’s dig deeper into the idea of smiling. Smiling is a powerful networking tool. This weekend, Susan Toy (owner of Alberta Books Canada and author impresario) and I set up a table advertising our services at a major publishing conference, and we took note of many of the other presenters. Why would people stop at certain tables and not others? In some cases, they stopped for a fancy display, but for the most part, people stopped to talk to the people who were warm and inviting, the ones who smiled and said “hi.”  Smile when speaking with clients or colleagues over the phone – I guarantee they will be able to hear it.

Recently, I’ve also tried to make it a point to smile while working (luckily I work from home and don’t have to answer any questions about it!). It felt a little silly at first, but I had begun to notice that after long days at the computer focused on a task and no one to talk to, I often became irritable.  Smiling while working helps keep you in the moment and helps you remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. And if you can’t force yourself to smile while working, maybe it’s time to find work that makes you happier.

One of my favourite lines from a song is in “Headlock,” by Imogen Heap: “Throw a stranger an unexpected smile.” Smiling at people you don’t know and having them smile back at you is an amazing pick-me-up. It can serve to remind you that in the end, we’re really all in this together.

As an editor, I need to constantly remind authors that it’s my job to help them present their words in the most effective way possible, not to change their work so it’s unrecognizable to them. Authors, editors, and publishers need to work together to create a great product for readers. We need to smile at one another. And on the grander scale, we all need to work together to live our best lives possible.

So throw some random smiles out there – you just never know who might be having an awful day and what that smile has the potential to do for them.

Namaste 🙂


  1. I like this one. Nothing better than acknowledging a person with a smile, or being acknowledged by one.

  2. I couldn’t agree more! I used to be the type of gal who hesitated to smile at people I didn’t really know (truth be told upon reflection, more often than not out of shyness and / or some weird fear of being rejected).

    I was challenged several months ago by a fellow participant at a coach training workshop, to make eye contact and give at least one stranger a big beaming smile every single day. And I have kept up my promise and I love it, I feel so much more connected with those around me and it’s fun watching the reactions from people when you do give a big beaming heartfelt smile their way, often there’s a glimmer of ‘who me?’, then ‘Oh, how nice!’ and more often than not a smile is returned to you – so nice!!!Thanks for a wonderful post Rachel 🙂

  3. What a great challenge, Adrienne! I might have to take that on as well!

  4. Excellent, Rachel! And so true about the necessity of working together in this business. It’s what I’ve been trying to encourage for ages. Thanks for joining me in this!

  5. So true, Rachel! I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Dutch study that demonstrated the power of a smile — when a person sees you smile, their smile muscles automatically activate as well! Interesting how a smile can actually influence a person’s perception of you! =)

    • I didn’t know that! Very cool fact – thanks for sharing, Samantha!

  6. I LOVE this post! I’ve read lots of studies that say if you fake a smile, it just makes you happier! Like you, I try to smile as much as possible, even if I don’t feel like it. It almost always makes me feel better! (p.s. Glad to have found your blog via your freelance folder comment.)

    • Thank you so much, Julia! Glad we were able to connect through Freelance Folder.

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