What’s Behind a Smile?

Leo Widrich, the cofounder of Buffer, recently wrote an article for Business Insider called “How to Smile Better, According to Science.” It’s a fascinating article, even for the layperson.In It, Leo discusses the science behind smiling.Tara Alemany, author, speaker and owner of Aleweb Social Marketing, with a real, authentic smileAn important point that he makes is that there are real smiles, called Duchenne smiles, and there are fake smiles. It’s easy for a viewer to tell the difference.

A fake smile only affects the lines around the eye socket. It does not evoke a genuine smile in return.

The Duchenne smile creates a reaction in the viewer that is hard to ignore. When someone is responding to a Duchenne smile, they mimic it and experience the same chemical rush that the smiler does.

This became a topic of conversation with a client of mine recently (before I ever read Leo’s article). I’m working on his website and he has a professional headshot that is nicely done. However, it’s not an effective photo.

The lighting is right. He is groomed nicely. Everything was done “right.” However, the viewer’s response to the look on his face isn’t a positive one.

We see a smile that’s a fake smile. It gives us the sense that he is uncertain of himself, and not really connected to us.

Given the fact that he’s a business coach, this doesn’t instill the sense of confidence we want people to have.

I emphasized the need for a new headshot that has an authentic and genuine smile. This was all all before Leo’s article came out.

Thankfully, the article was a good resource to send my client for him to consider before having his headshot retaken.

So what does your most recent headshot say about you?

Have a few friends look at it. Does it compel them to smile in return? If not, it may be time for a new headshot for you too.